Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for May, 2010

Another Great Summer Weekend

We had a fantastic weekend here on the ranch. Danielle’s dad and stepmom arrived on Friday and we spent the evening relaxing in the yard and dreaming about all the stuff we can do with our new house.  On Saturday, we got up fairly early and headed downtown to check out Doors Open Toronto, where we got a behind-the-scenes look at Toronto City Hall (and their new green roof), Osgoode Hall (where I dressed up like an appeals judge and sat on the bench) and Campbell House (which has a cool reproduction of the old City of York).  For a big fan of Toronto history, it was a real treat.

We were all sapped from the sun and heat, so we had an afternoon nap before heading up to Yonge and Eglinton for one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time at La Vecchia Trattoria.  The ingredients were all fresh, the cooking sublime and the service was out of this world.  Check it out sometime.

Yesterday we hung some paintings to make our house look like a home, and checked out some bedroom furniture at The Brick before taking the Montrealers back to the train station for their ride home.  Danielle and I then spent the afternoon relaxing our neighbour’s pool (which we were ordered to babysit while they were away for the weekend.  Great neighbours, or what?).

Now we’re back to real life, but at least the heatwave is taking a break today.

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More Houseguests

As of this afternoon, the cycle of having all the parents come and visit our new house will be complete.  I’m picking up Danielle’s dad and stepmom at the train station and we’re going to spend, what I hope will be a gorgeous weekend, soaking up all that Toronto has to offer.  For example, there are some French events going on this weekend, as well as Doors Open Toronto.  That might mean spending some time in lines, but it’ll be worth it.

I’ll also have to get a bit of work done as big time has some big time meetings coming up with prospective clients and that means that I have some big meetings with prospective clients.  When it rains, it pours, and this is the best type of rain.

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the sunshine and even the first of real ‘summer’ thunderstorm, if the weather guys are right.

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A Chill in the Air

I feel like I’m committing a crime or, at the very least, breaking some sort of moral code.  At the very least, it feels like a sin of some sort, but I don’t care.  When something feels this good, you just go with it.

It’s been more than 10 years since I lived in a house that had central air, and as someone who despises heat (unlike cold, you can’t get away from it), that’s a lifetime.  When I fired ours up the other night and heard our compressor start whirring out in the yard, I was giddy; when the frigid air blasted through the vent, I nearly fainted.  Surely this is the very definition of decadence; where I pay money to convert electricity into comfortable cool air on a hot day, thus expelling more heat into the outside air, making people who don’t have A/C even more uncomfortable.  I don’t care though, I’m not one of those people now.  I’ve gone ‘central’.

Someday, my A/C might break down.  It’s a fact of life that mechanical things don’t last forever, and my central air unit is no exception.  Murphy’s Law dictates that it will happen on the hottest and humidest night of the year, and in the morning I will have a meeting of such importance that a crappy night’s sleep will cost me dearly.  I’m not even going to think about that now.  I’m just going to sit back and enjoy looking out the window at a stiflingly hot yard in the comfort of my cool living room.

God bless you, Willis Carrier; inventor of modern air conditioning.

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Victoria Would Have Been Pleased

I had a whirlwind trip to the cottage this weekend.  Thanks to a particularly busy week and two particularly ill dogs, Danielle opted to stay behind while I went up alone to open the house for the season.  We spent quite a bit of time and energy cleaning up last fall and it paid off this spring.  The house was quite fresh and only needed a little sweeping and mopping.  Even the mice seemed to stay away this year.

Before coming home on Sunday, I popped over to the neighbours’ place on Saturday evening to check out their newly installed hop yard.  They’re growing organic hops for nearby microbreweries and it’s quite the operation they’ve got.  I can’t wait to taste the fruits of their labours, and if Big Time ever starts our own microbrewing operation, at least I know where I can source my hops.  Check them out at Bristol Hops.

The nice thing about coming home a day early on a long weekend is that there isn’t even a hint of traffic on the roads, so I made great time coming home, even with a stop off to visit my grandma. Then, Danielle and I spent the day together yesterday, including some BBQ and hanging in the yard with the dogs.  I even got my third sunburn of the season.

Now that the long weekend is over, I need a short vacation to recover from all the hard work.

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May Long

Last night’s social media/sports event was a huge success on all counts, but was a ridiculous amount of labour on the first hot and humid day of the year, so I think I’ve earned the gorgeous weather that is being forecast for the cottage this weekend.  If only I can get an oil change done on our car before we leave so we can be sure to get there in one piece, then it’ll truly be time to rest and relax.

That we have to open and clean the cottage before we can sit down and kick our feet up is just standard operating procedure for every May Long.  A nice cold case of something or other will help with that.

Have a great long weekend and we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled schedule next week, starting on Tuesday.

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Games, Games, Games

Today is the culmination of a few weeks of planning and hard work for a small group of people, of which Karim and I are a part.  We’re the technology sponsors for SportsConnectTO which brings together professional sport and social media in a summit of sorts. The CFL, Jays and MLSE will be there sharing what they have learned about social media, and hopefully sharing what they have planned for the future. If you haven’t already, sign up.  Be sure to come early too.  It’s going to be jammed.

And just in case I thought I had plenty of free time, Karim recently got me hooked on Empire Avenue, an online game where you buy and sell stock on people just like you, while they buy and sell your stock.  It’s completely pointless and wildly addictive. I think you need an invite to join, so if you’re interested, just let me know and I’ll fire you one… so long as you buy 50 shares or so of my stock when you join.  Ah, the sweet smell of bribery.

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Hooray for Showers!

My minor plumbing nightmare came to an end yesterday thanks to a $30 replacement faucet from Home Depot.  Once I finally got the old one off, I found out that the cheap plastic piece that slips on the stem had a nice big pressure crack that had been building for a while.  Why oh why do manufacturers make high-stress pieces out of cheap plastic?  I can only assume that they want to insure you have to buy a replacement at some point.

Thanks to a lacklustre game by the Habs, I was able to click off during the third period and install cabinet latches for our under-sink cabinets.  Our green bin is now safely tucked away in a locked cabinet where our indigenous in-house wildlife can’t get into it.  It also isn’t taking up precious space on our countertop.  Win!

That “little” task required adding a small piece of wood to the cabinets to mount the latches on, which means I got to bust out some of my powerful power tools.  I think Danielle believes I just wanted to make lots of noise and lots of sawdust, which is half-true, but it had to be done.

My next minor project is mounting a bunch of towel racks in our bathroom and kitchen, and then I’m out of little things in the short-term, which probably means I’m moving on to upgrading our electrical.  If you don’t hear from me for a while, you can safely assume I’m in Toronto East General Hospital (where I was born!) with my hands bandaged to protect my third-degree electrical burns. Eek.


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Spinning Faucets

There is some strange voodoo afoot.  I’m sure that I’ve wronged a very powerful wizard of some sort who has a serious hate-on for me, and instead of going to the trouble of making a doll out of onion in my shape and working the eyes and knees (as I like to do), this less gifted onion-sculptor instead can only make shapes of the plastic flange inside a tub faucet.

For the second time in three months (and in a completely different house in a different part of town), I was unable to shower this morning because the tub faucet just spun around like a hula hoop without any water running at all.  Even better, everything I learned at my last place about faucets is completely useless as our new bathroom doesn’t have the double faucets, but the single one.  Yeah.

So that means a trip to my favourite Home Depot to see if I can just get the one replacement part I need, although it seems more likely that I’ll just have to replace the whole thing with a smile on my face.  In the meantime, now that the faucet is off, I can at least shower by turning the water off and on with a handy wrench right on the water stem.  Lucky me.

So if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and get clean in the exceedingly strange experience of stepping into the shower in my birthday suit holding a monkey wrench.

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