Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for February, 2010

Your Attention Please

Yeah, I’m not going to blog today. That is all.

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Shovelin’ My Way to Brantford

According to reliable sources, Southern Ontario is set to get whacked with another ‘big’ winter storm which could see 15 centimeters of snow hit Toronto by tomorrow morning.  While that’s hardly a big storm, that much snow while make things pretty sloppy out there on roads and highways; the very roads and highways I’ll be driving on today.

For reasons that barely make sense and require no explanation in here, Karim and I are heading to Brantford today and I fully plan on tracking down a member of the Gretzky family and high-fiving them.  My plan is not the reason we’re going, but if you’re driving to Brantford on a blustery, wintery day, you might as well have some fun, right?  Right.

I guess I could just as equally try to track down a member of the Graham Bell family and give one of them a high-five too, but I’m not sure if any of Alexander’s family is still down there.  Are there any other famous Brantfordians that I’m forgetting?


No, Not Brian Dennehey

Today is Big Time Design and Communication Inc. day in Canada.  All three of us will be in the same room at the same time for the first time ever, and we’ll probably all be sharing from the same pitcher within a few short hours.  That means that Karim is visiting from the land of beautiful and spacious skies and amber waves of grain, and we’ll be eating boatloads of poutine this week in celebration.

That also means a crazy week full of meetings, demos and general carrying-on, all mixed in between watching Olympic coverage and planning how to make the internet even better than it already is (which is what we do via Skype all the time). These are exciting times my friends, exciting times.

This afternoon will see us go from one meeting to another and then to Start-Up Drinks, where folks from start-ups meet for drinks and to network.  Based on my few months in a start-up, networking and heavy drinking go pretty much hand in hand.

Oh, and Canada versus Russia in men’s ice hockey.  You really should watch it, because that’s what Brian Boitano would do.

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Making Music Doesn’t Mean Making Money

Yesterday afternoon, instead of working hard like I usually do on a Monday, Kiernan brought over his guitar, MacBook and condenser mic and we cut a quick track.  It was a ton of fun, and although it’s really insanely rusty, it was awesome to dust off my guitar skills and my vocal chops to have a little fun and get something on ‘tape’.

Hopefully, we can take our first attempt and turn it into something that isn’t horribly embarrassing and will be at least worthy of sharing here so you can all cringe and laugh at me.  Yes, that would be awesome.

Frankly, I just missed plugging in and rocking out with someone other than just me (and Mojo barking on the high notes when I played “Angel of Harlem”).  Maybe it’s time for a Slow Like Big Hams reunion tour?  Has it been long enough?

Maybe instead of drooling over new effects pedals and new VOX amps, I should start drooling over a decent microphone and a multi-track bay for my laptop?  Yes, I believe I should.

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Monday, Munday, Funday

The weekend has come to a close and what a weekend it was.  Danielle and I watched Shutter Island (which was good, but I don’t want to say too much lest I give something away.  Suffice it to say it’s not as scary as the trailers would have you believe), and I had a night out on the town with Kenneth.

I also missed the Team Canada loss to the US because I was busy helping my curling team eke out a tie against a very able opponent.

Today, I plan on doing some jamming in my living room with a friend of mine, a quick trip to the vet for some eye ointment for the dog and some general chilling out after a weekend that was anything but chill.

Hopefully we’re all here tomorrow and not buried under feet of snow.  Make sure your windshield wiper fluid is topped up, because it sounds like Old Man Winter is finally going to show his frosty face.

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Is Your Left Arm Tingling Too?

The shortened week after a long weekend is always a gut-punch disguised as a blessing.  Sure, you get a day off and your weekend is 1/3 longer, but then you get to take four days and pack five days worth of work into it.  That, as they say, is the rub.  Well, we’ve nearly made it through this particular gut-punch and I don’t know about you, but I could use some blood pressure medication after last night’s hockey game.

I should probably keep this short so I don’t keep anyone from rushing off to a TV at 11am to see what Tiger Woods has to say for himself, so enjoy your normal weekend everyone.  It will be followed by a normal week where you do the normal amount of work in the normal amount of days.

Oh, and don’t forget to take your blood pressure medication.

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Darwinisim at Work, or Pseudo-Science for Blog’s Sake? You Decide

I recently wrote about the explosion in the squirrel population in our neighbourhood and I think that I’ve come up with an anecdotal theory based on empirical evidence, thanks to the CBC.  Prepare yourselves with some reasonable pseudo-science.

In conjunction with the rise in squirrel sightings, I had barely noticed how few raccoons I’ve seen prowling around, and if I had noticed, I would have just chalked it up to our dog finally having scared them all away.  Well, that’s not the case at all.  According to Toronto Animal Services (as reported here by the CBC), a massive outbreak of distemper (think H1N1 for animals) is ravaging the raccoon and skunk population in Toronto.  Apparently it’s killing raccoons left and right, which is kind of sad because animals are dying slow, agonizing deaths, but also not because I hate urban raccoons.  I’m really torn on this one.

Aside from the obvious threat to domestic pets like cats and dogs (I’ll be keeping a REALLY close eye on Mojo, although he’s inoculated against distemper), we can draw a further conclusion from this.  If there was an abundant food supply for the legions of raccoons that used to roam this city day and night, and that population has been curbed by illness, it stands to reason that other forms of wildlife will thrive given access to those food sources.  Since not many animals are dumpster divers, that pretty much leaves squirrels and gulls.

Now, I haven’t noticed more gulls than normal, mostly because we don’t often see gulls (seagulls? Ha) in our neighbourhood, but that would certainly explain why my alley looks like it’s carpeted wall to wall with jittery squirrels.

Does that seem far-fetched?

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Winter Olympics 2010; Not All Bad

I’m not the world’s biggest booster for the Olympics, nor would I consider myself a big fan, but even I was elated yesterday by Ricker’s gold medal and our men’s hockey team’s expected win over Norway.  Despite all the problems with weather that have plagued Vancouver (and are poised to get worse), VANOC has done a great job of making sure that fans are the forefront in events, and the experience translates well to TV.

I can’t say I’m all that happy with CTV’s coverage though.  First off, having driven a lot on the weekend, I miss having radio coverage of events via CBC.  Without a TV, you can just get highlights on the news, which isn’t nearly as fun when you’re trying to kill 5 hours on the 401.  Second, many of the commentators are downright annoying.  For example, during the men’s 500m speedskating, Catriona LeMay Doan kept railing against skaters who kicked their feet out at the finish line to trigger the sensor that marks their time.  I get that it can chip the ice and requires repairs, but those repairs are quite quick and the skaters are allowed to do it.  Just mention that it’s not allowed in some events and move on.  Don’t go on and on about it with each skater.

I’m not even going to get started on the annoying ‘fashion critiques’ and colour segments by Dan Levy and Jessie Cruickshank that makes the Olympics look more like TMZ for tweens.  Just annoying.

The camera work has been pretty amateurish too.  For example, during yesterday’s gold medal snowboard cross run, rather than following Canadian Maelle Ricker in her substantial lead, cameras followed the snowboarder who fell near the top of the course and then the pack of second and third place snowboarders.  We were lucky to catch a glimpse of Ricker as she approached the finish line.  Blech.  I was actually screaming at the TV.

There.  I got it all out.  Now I can settle down and enjoy the actual sports.  You can too.

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