Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for April, 2009

The World is not Coming to an End

So it sounds like everyone in Canda (and doubly so for those of us in Ontario) will have a little stake in what goes on behind the hallowed walls of the Chrysler Corporation.  As they file for bankruptcy protection, part of their restructuring plan includes a bucket-load of public money, some of which I recently paid in the form of income tax.  Woo hoo!  I own a car company!

I’d love to grumble about this and complain to high heaven, but let’s face it, if Chrysler collapsed, Ontario would be pretty screwed.  I guess this is our time to sit down and take a bit sloppy bite out of the recession crap sandwich and get back to our daily lives filled with hand washing and not touching people who have recently been to Mexico.

Frankly, like everyone else, I think I’ve been doing far too much grumbling, complaining and worrying lately, and I’m not entirely sure that I have any cause to be.  My job is as safe as anyone’s and things aren’t as bad as they seem out there.  So I’m going to try and spend the next few days taking deep breaths and trying to stay sane.  Wanna join me?

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Let the Construction Begin!

As the once skeletal tree branches of my neighbourhood begin to bud, thoughts of warm evenings and drinks on patios give way to dreams of cottage renovations and hard, dirty work.

Spring/Summer 2009 will hopefully see the development of a complex draining system that will move water from under the house (where it pools, causing floor joists to slowly rot over decades) to a pond between the driveway and the house.  From there, I hope to put in a culvert under the driveway to carry all the water to a dry well on the far side of the driveway.

Rather than risking life and limb digging all this myself, I’m thinking I’ll rent an excavator and have someone skilled do all the fun stuff.  Then, I’ll have to order a truck load of gravel to dump in all the low spots to ensure all that water can move freely.  I’m just hoping I don’t accidentally create any new breeding grounds for the ever-present mosquitoes that hound us relentlessly May-September.

Also on the list is a complex plan to fix the collapsing foundation on our shed.  I’ll get to try out my amateur masonry skills and play with a hydraulic pump, which should only put me at minimal risk of injury.  I shouldn’t have said that.

All of this is to say that if anyone wants to play contractor this summer, just let me know.  You won’t be paid for your work, but I’ll feed and house you and when when the working day is done, there’s little else to do aside from sitting back and enjoying a nice country evening and the sound of water running from under the house to the far side of the driveway.

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Animal Farm is Coming True!!!!

I’m not sure who I’m more infuriated with right now; the media or the people who casually pay attention to the media and then act stupidly as a result.  It’s a toss-up, really.

In case you are a complete shut in and don’t know what’s going on, it seems the world is ending because a severe form of flu is spreading from Mexico to countries around the world.  It originates in pigs, so it’s called Swine Flu, but it’s just like any other kind of flu, only stronger.  If you eat well, get lots of sleep, minimize contact with other people and wash your hands a lot, the odds of catching it are astronomically low, even if you travel to Mexico.

So why are people freaking out and not eating or buying pork?  Because they’re morons, that’s why.  They hear ‘swine flu’ and somehow assume you can get the flu from cooked pork.  It’s safe to say that you have a much higher chance of getting botulism from pork than the flu.

Still, the media finally has a story it can sink its teeth into now that the recession woes have hit fever pitch (get it? fever).  You’ll notice that all the in-depth stories of doom and gloom in the markets have all but disapeared from news sites and programs in lieu of footage of angry Mexican nurses and pig farmers with their pants pockets turned inside out.  I guess that’s what’s known as “up side”.

I just wish that the Mulroney-Schreiber story was getting the same coverage in Canada.  You know, the story about two crooks trying to blame all their crookery on the other one?  Yeah, it’s pretty entertaining and embarassing for all Canadians, which makes for pretty riveting news.  I guess they have another kind of swine flu.

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The Weekend Review Revue

Before the hurricane of storminess hit on Saturday, our house was a beehive of outdoor activity.  Danielle raked up and cleaned both our front and backyards while I washed and cleaned all our windows (inside and out), degreased and cleaned the BBQ (and re-filled our propane tank) and tidied up our deck in preparation for a season of eating meals in the great outdoors.  We also spent some time out of the sunshine cleaning up our basement and reorganizing our storage room.

One of the highlights of the beautfiul day was a lazy trip to Canadian Tire to spend a birthday gift certificate on saws.  Yes, I bought a bunch of saws.  I got an insanely cheap variable speed Jigsaw, a Hacksaw (in case I ever find myself in handcuffs with no key) and a plain ol’ Handsaw for brush and planks of wood.

On Saturday night, we decided it was high time we celebrated the two-year anniversary of our engagement (back on April 17), so we headed to Queen’s Pasta on Bloor, where we had enjoyed our last dinner as a non-engaged couple.  Then we headed to the Queensway Cinema to catch the late show of State of Play.  We really enjoyed the first half, but I can’t tell you about the rest because we were evacuated unceremoniously due to a power outage.  I’m currently trying to get in touch with someone at the theatre to get some free passes to make up for it, and I’ll keep you posted.

My next ‘nice weather’ task will be to get outside with my Dremel (a christmas gift from the in-laws) and use the polishing tools to clean off some of the carbon scoring on my propane camping stove, and try out the sharpening tools on my hatchet.  I was a little reticent about using a high-speed rotary tool in the house in winter.  I don’t think Danielle is too big a fan of inhaling microscopic bits of metal.  Needless to say, all of this sounds like a process that will have to be heavily photographed and posted in here.

Basically, I’m just looking for any excuse to be out and about in the great outdoors playing with power tools and taunting the god of luck (his name is Gamblor) to grant me an epic injury that will make for good blog fodder.

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I’m a Little Hoarse

Last night’s TFC game was insanely cold, but it was worth riding it out to see the boys in Red take down Chivas, USA in a 1-0 victory.  It was pretty clear that the frigid temperatures helped the Canadian-based team defeat the LA-based team, so cold weather in spring isn’t all bad.

It was also nice to be out watching a victorious team while Montreal was swept out of the playoffs by Boston.  Our house will be a little quieter on hockey nights now, that’s for sure.

One minor drawback from going to last night’s game is that my voice is completely hoarse from yelling and jibing the Chiva’s goalie for most of the first half.  That’s one of the joys of having seats in the very corner of the stadium.

In happier news, the current temperature of 4 degrees (1 with the windchill) will be gone as of this afternoon, and by Saturday we should be in the high 20’s.  That means patios will be open and neighbours will start being friendly with one another again.  Sadly, it also means that I’ll be hearing the dreaded word ‘humidex’ soon.  I’ll try to stay positive.

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From Blowing Out my Ears to Freezing Them Off

Last night’s Appleseed Cast show at The Horseshoe Tavern was easily one of the loudest I’ve ever been to, so I’m surprised that my ears aren’t still ringing this morning.  Maybe that means that I’ve managed to do some permanent damage.  W00t!

It was a nice surprise to show up in time to hear the opener play, especially since I’d never heard of them and had pretty low expectations.  Happily, “An Horse” blew me away.  Apparently they’ve played on Letterman, and have toured internationally.  They’re a VERY full-sounding tw0-piece with guitar, drum and blended vocals.

Tonight I switch gears from rock to sport as Danielle and I head down to BMO Field to watch TFC take on Chivas, USA in biting cold temperatures.  I think I’ll have to count on some Macaroni and Cheese Fritters to keep me toasty and warm.  I just hope it doesn’t snow.

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Casting for Appleseeds

Long-time readers of the blog might recall various roadtrips across our southern border into New York State (and one trip all the way to Pittsburgh with an ill-fated stop in Cleveland) to see a great indie band live.  One night, many years ago, they saved me the trouble of needing photo ID to see them by playing a dive club to an uncaring audience here in Toronto.

Well, tonight I have to travel the shortest distance ever to see The Appleseed Cast as they rock out the historic Horseshoe Tavern.  Tickets are $10 in advance, so I’m guessing they’ll be around $15 at the door, but that’s well worth seeing this seasoned touring band strut their stuff on stage.  Click on the link above to check out some of their music.

I guess it’s categorized as ’emo’, but ignore genre titles and just know that you can look forward to anthemic guitar-based waves of emotion that ebb and flow until your ears are sore.  If you love guitar-based rock and amazing drum work, then you won’t be disappointed.  Well, not by the band at least.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen a band at the Horseshoe, but the crowd can be hostile sometimes and the beer is far from cheap.

Still, come on out and enjoy a great show.

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A Weekend Spent in Limbo

When I got home from work on Friday night, even the awesome weather couldn’t keep us from feeling lethargic, so we spent the night in and went to bed early.  On Saturday morning, I got up around 10am, had something to eat and went back to bed, where I stayed until 7:30 that night.  I watched in horror as Montreal lost to Boston and then went back to bed again, and spend Sunday napping off and on.

Danielle had a head cold that was keeping her down, but mine was just a really achey body, intermittent fever and the complete inability to keep myself awake.

So now I’m back at work and I don’t even feel like I had a weekend off.  On the plus side, thanks to a free preview of the Mystery Channel and a Law & Order marathon, I think I’ve seen every episode of Criminal Intent and Special Victims Unit at least twice.  Thanks, Myster Channel.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to crawl under my desk and take a nap for the next 8 hours.

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