Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for August, 2009

Fringe, Fringe, Fringe!

After what has felt like eons, but has actually only been three months, Fringe will return on Thursday, September 17 at 9pm.  It was one of my favourite new shows from the past TV season and I’m eagerly awaiting the season premiere after a blockbuster cliffhanger in the season finale back in May.  I’m hoping to be able to rewatch all of season one before the season two premiere.

I recently learned two neat things that have sort of increased my enjoyment of the show.  The first is that Anna Torv, who plays Agent Olivia Dunham is actually an Australian, which explains her unusual speech cadence in faux-American English.  The second is that she married her love interest from the show, Agent John Scott (played by Mark Valley) halfway through the first season.

Look at me.  I’m turning into a celebrity blogger of sorts.  Meh.

I’ve also done a fair amount of reading about the weird symbols shown at commercial breaks and how they are some sort of code for fans of the show.  At this point, I’m too lazy to get into researching them, but I might get more into it during season two.

Frankly, all of this is just to distract me while I wait for season four of The IT Crowd to air in 2010.  It’s the littlest things that keep us all sane.

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Electrical Expertise Required

Is anyone out there a wiz with electronics?  If so, I could use some help with a small guitar project.

My effects pedals are all driven by 9v batteries, but these things eat them like candy.  I could buy a 9v adapter for each pedal, but then I would have a mess of cables and an entire power bar devoted to driving these things.  I’ve looked around online at power supplies for pedals, but figure that building one might be cheaper.

Each pedal is 9v and has between 30 and 100 mA of draw.  What I’d like is one power supply I plug in and then 9v adapter cables that run from that to the pedals.  Since some pedals don’t have 9v adapter inputs, a few cables would have to have the male ends for a 9v battery hookup instead.

So, what would it cost to build something like that from spare parts or from the various buckets at a place like Active Surplus?  Am I just better off buying one of the power supplies many people get for pedal rigs?


Surprising Educational Acheivements of C-List Actors

I hope you’re all happy.  In spite of my voodoo rituals and incense burning, the actual heat and humidity of summer has finally arrived.  I can only assume that more people were sacrificing live animals and they outdid my efforts to keep the summer cool and breezy.  I both applaud and curse you for your efforts as I will now be sweating non-stop until the first frost, but clearly you wanted a hot summer much more than I wanted a cool one, or were at least willing to go to further lengths to get it.

So now I have to stock up on freezies and delicious rehydrating drinks and have plenty of ice on hand for my twice-daily regime of ice baths to get my core temperature down.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m not a Universal Soldier.  Seriously.  You’re welcome, by the way.  Now you’re dying to watch a movie you’d probably completely forgotten about, mostly because its two big stars are Jean-Claude Van Damme (The Muscles from Brussels) and Dolph Lundgren (who is a terrible actor, but has a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship from MIT!  Check it out!) and they’re really not that memorable as actors.

On a wildly unrelated note, eating chocolate covered peanuts while drinking hot coffee is one of life’s great pleasures.  If you haven’t tried it, do so immediately.  If you don’t drink coffee, you should start.  If you’re allergic to peanuts… well, I guess you’re just S.O.L. (if you’re lost on that one, check out definition number 4).

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Camping, Lightning and Other Stuff

This weekend was an eventful one.  We booked our next summer vacation (a weeklong camping trip at Silent Lake Provincial Park at the end of August, followed by a weekend at the cottage), saw The Hangover (well worth the price of admission.  Lots of laughs) and I spent some time with my new guitar AND cleaned up our house.

We’re really looking forward to having an extended camping trip to get some use out of the new tent we bought a while back and have barely used.  We’re also looking forward to spending a week in the woods with Mojo and we hope he sleeps well in the tent and that he’s a pro-star in a canoe.  If all goes well, we might be able to consider taking him on a canoe trip next summer, or even this fall.  We’re not super confident in his swimming abilities yet, so he’s got his own PFD in case of emergencies.

This weekend was also marked by crazy weather.  Last night’s lightning storm was almost to be expected after the insane swing to hot and muggy weather, and it was awesome to watch, but not that great to drive through.  Apparently we’re getting more storms today.  I’m just hoping that the weather kind of flattens out over the next few weeks so we get some nice weather for our camping trip.

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Greenwood Park and Mojo’s New Eyes

The dog formerly known as Lamphead had the stitches removed from his lower eyelids this morning and he’s looking and doing fine.  He’s officially allowed to be cone-less which means he’s reverting back to his original name of Mojo.  All-in-all, it looks like everything was a huge success and we couldn’t be happier with the work done by Dr. Sam Munn and all the fine folks at Greenwood Park Animal Hospital.

I haven’t had a lot of experience with animal hospitals, but more than my share of experience with people hospitals, and if all hospitals were run like this one, I’d never want to be healthy.  Dr. Munn specifically has a fantastic bedside manner and is very patient and kind with all the animals (and their anxious owners).  It probably doesn’t hurt that everyone who works there has a ready supply of tasty liver treats and eager hands ready to scratch or pet the animals.  All of our questions and concerns, no matter how trivial, have always been answered clearly and patiently.

If you live in the east end and you’re looking for a vet, I cannot recommend Greenwood Park enough.  Just make sure there are enough liver treats left for when we bring Mojo in.

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Lining up is Fun and Easy

Standing in lineups comes very naturally to us Canadians, so much so that we form lineups in places where they aren’t indicated (like at ABMs).  I’m not sure where the inclination comes from; maybe our politeness or maybe it’s a nod to our brethren in the United Kingdom who are pros at queueing in their own rights.

We’ve all quietly suffered the indignation at watching another line move more quickly than ours and seeing someone who arrived after us in that line getting served before we are.  We suffer silently in the full knowledge that countless other times we’ve been the person who arrived later and got served first.  It goes on in all our heads and we rarely do anything about it because if you’re polite enough to line up in the first place, you’ll just accept that your turn will come.

So this morning I was in line at my local Tim Hortons and it moved faster than the line to my right, which was actually shorter.  When my turn came at the cash, a woman in her late 30s stepped over from the head of the next line over and pushed me back to my place in line saying loudly “Excuse me, but I was here before you were” and proceeded to glare at the cashier.

The poor girl at the register clearly didn’t want to get involved and gave me a pitited look.  I just nodded at her figuring this lady would order her coffee and be on her way.  Instead, she began asking about each sandwich combo and what it contained.  Bah.  After 10 minutes, the cashier’s assistant (the one who pours the coffees) waved me over to the side and took my order.  Even better, she apologized.  I said it was fine, but she was adamant that the woman was rude and I should have been served first.  Awesome.

Although she insisted my coffee was free, I left her change for the price of the coffee and a generous tip.  What could have been the lowlight of my day turned into the highlight.

Just when you find you’re losing faith in mankind, someone comes through and restores it.  Well done, society.

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Facebook Gallery; Not the Bee’s Knees

So I’ve had a few people say “Hey, when are you going to get your Germany photos up on Facebook?” and I figured I would take this opportunity to publically reassure everyone that the photos are coming.  They’re sorted, resized and ready to share.  The only obstacle right now is Facebook itself.

We’ve culled our collection down to the maximum 200 allowed, and the bulk photo uploader that works for all our other galleries just gives an immediate error, even when we broke the gallery into chunks.  Sigh.  So unless I can figure out what it is that’s gumming up the works, that means uploading nearly 200 photos six at a time.

Frankly, I’m not even a huge fan of the Facebook photo gallery.  Aside from the fun of tagging yourself and others, it’s slow to move between photos and stalls easily.  If I can’t get it sorted shortly, I’ll just create my own online gallery and link it here and in Facebook for everyone to enjoy.

Hopefully we’ll be able to show off our trip before we take our next one, and lessons learned this time around will mean photos will show up quicker next time.  Maybe.  Probably not actually.

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Too Much Poutine and Not Enough Sun

Our long weekend away in Montreal was officially a grand success.  We had great visits with family, enjoyed some great food (including two large doses of poutine in one day, as per the Canada Food Guide) and heard some great music.

We arrived in Montreal in record time on Friday night, had a great night’s sleep and headed to Jean Drapeau park under sunny skies for the Osheaga music festival.  We heard some good bands and rocked out to Coldplay under fireworks along with 30,000 of our closest friends.  By sheer luck, we ended up a stone’s throw away from their in-crowd B-Stage where they played a few acoustic tunes (including “Billy Jean”).  The only low point was the congestion getting out of the park to the metro station.

On Sunday, we checked out the Montreal Highland Games in a massive downpour.  We stayed pretty close to the huge beer tent that kept us dry, although it was hard to talk over all the bagpipers regaling us with their awesome tunes.  I very nearly bought a kilt, but figured that I wouldn’t have much chance to wear one… except maybe on casual Fridays here at the office.

We spent Monday lounging in the in-laws backyard and soaking up some sun while our dog went nuts from actually having a yard to run free in.  He’s now dropping lots of hints that we need to buy a house with a big yard.  I fully expect to come home and find a bunch of MLS listings mysteriously opened on my computer.

Now I’m back for a week of taking it easy and getting acquainted with my new guitar.  The rocking on continues.

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