Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for August, 2010

Furniture and Fire; Not at the Same Time

We capped off yet another gorgeous weekend in Toronto with a busy Sunday afternoon.  We finally got around to buying a badly needed bedroom set, so I can finally kiss the dresser my parents rescued from a neighbour’s garbage pile in the 80s goodbye.  Not soon enough, if  you ask me.

We took the tour of ‘Furniture Store Alley’ on Kennedy Road, just south of the 401 and while there was lots of choice in stores, what they contained was a lesson in the broad and varied tastes of the East Toronto furniture-buyer.  Leopard-print felt headboards were surprisingly bountiful, but sadly I couldn’t talk Danielle into a bedroom motif of an African dictator.

We both fell in love with our set the moment we saw it on the display floor, and it’ll arrive by truck on Wednesday.

After our grand shopping tour, we headed down to Buskerfest to check out the last few hours of the festival with Kristie and Karim.  We caught a bit of a trapeze show, performed from the underside of a huge helium balloon, and then watched an entire fire show by some very talented artists, mostly from Australia.  We also treated ourselves to some pepperettes sold at a roadside stand and a few glasses of ice cold refreshment on a nearby patio.

All in all, it was a perfect summer weekend.  How was yours?

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Zounds! It’s Friday

Once again, the weekend is upon us; a weekend ripe with opportunity for fun, frivolity and good times.  We are just scant hours away from what is reportedly going to be one of the nicest weather weekends in August, so just stop working now and get out there and embrace it.

The Ex is still going full strength and Buskerfest is in full swing, patios will be open until the wee hours and parks will be filled with picnickers and their dogs.  Summer will be coming to an end soon, but not in the next 72 hours, so make the most of it.

As you can tell, I’m in a pretty good mood today (more on that another day), but you should be too.  I hereby delcare this workday over [Dave sips his Scotch] and order you to get out and have some fun.

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We Can Dance

I don’t know if the universe is trying to tell me something, but in the last 24 hours, I’ve heard the song “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend” nine times, and through a wide variety of sources.

It’s been on TV, in a store, even playing in a car beside me at a stoplight.  I have no concrete plans for this weekend, but I get the distinct impression I should be working harder as we approach it.  I mean, EVERYBODY’S working for the weekend, right?

Or, does the song mean that everyone will be working during the weekend?  I’m so confused.  Why can’t all songs have a clearer message, like “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats.  They make it clear that if you don’t dance and your friends don’t dance, you’re no friend of theirs.

So I guess my mission for the next few days is clear; I have to get that song out of my head by listening to “Safety Dance” non-stop.  If I lose my mind (and I will), tell my loved ones I did it out of respect for clarity in lyrics.  Remember me.

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You Can’t Spell “The Ex” Without the Letter X

So I’m starting to recover from our trip to the CNE on Saturday.  Sadly, I didn’t get to try the deep-fried butter (but the season is still young) as the line was too long and my stomach was already feeling pretty rough.

During the TFC match, I ate two foot-long hot dogs (after having skipped breakfast) and then at the CNE, I had a large (and disappointing) Poutine from Bouchards in the food building.  I would not recommend getting their poutine at all.  Barely any curd, the gravy was gross and the fries were grossly undercooked.  For dessert, Danielle and I split a dozen Tiny Tom donuts with icing sugar.  After that, I was well on my way to a Rolaids moment.

The saddest part of all, most of the good rides were either shut down or closed while we stood in line.  The Zipper, probably my favourite ride of all time, looked to be out of action for the long term with two slack-jawed carnies working it over from a cherry picker.

Will I make it back to the EX this year?  Only time will tell, but I’m going to make more informed food choices and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let routine maintenance or outright dysfunction keep me from riding The Zipper.

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Let’s Go to the EX!

I’m sure you’ve heard all about deep-fried butter and the splash it’s going to make at this year’s CNE (which opens today), and if all goes well, you should be hearing a first-hand account of it next week.  Our tickets to tomorrow’s Toronto FC match are also good for free entry into the EX (since the stadium is right in the thick of it), so we’re going to check it out.

I love the EX.  I love the scary rides (scary because they’re assembled by carnies with a grade 4 education and they shake while bolts fly off), especially the Zipper, and I’m really looking forward to strolling through the midway on a later summer’s eve with my favourite girl on my arm.  It’s how people have been enjoying the CNE for over a century.

Danielle is especially gifted in the games where you gamble your hard earned money on coloured squares while a carny spins a wheel to pick the coloured square that wins.  She’s a natural.

Aside from long lineups and exorbitant ride ticket prices, the CNE is one of the most fun activities that comes to Toronto, and that it comes with deep-fried food, roasted corn and some most EXCELLENT people-watching opportunities just adds to the fun.

This is our starter fair experience for 2010, as we’ll be spending nearly an entire weekend soaking in the Shawville Fair up at the cottage over Labour Day weekend.  My dad is singing in a choir there, and unlike the EX, the super cheap admission includes all rides.  Boo yah.  As if that wasn’t enough, the shows are free too, which means I can watch April Wine AND Paul Brandt… at no cost.  Not that I will, or even want to, but I can.  And fairs are all about choice.

See you at the EX.

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The Trials of Dog Ownership

We enjoyed a fine meal of salmon fillets last night for dinner, which meant that Mojo spent most of the meal drooling all over our dining room floor and putting on his best dinner-time behaviour (no formal begging) in the hopes he’d get a taste.  The little maniac is crazy for seafood.

However, seafood is not crazy about him, and each time we have it, we ask ourselves “Is this going to make him sick?”.  About half the time, it does.

Last night I caved and gave him some of the skin and a bit of meat, which he didn’t even take the time to chew. Slurp, gulp and gone.  He was supremely happy and spent a good hour licking his chops and relicking his bowl.

Fast forward to this morning.  I had to leave the house on some errands and opened our door to a terrible smell.  A great big messy brown puddle was waiting for me in a rarely used corner of the house (thank goodness for that, at least), and a very sheepish little hound greeted me.

I didn’t curse or yell at the poor guy, I mean I’m the master… I should know better.  I dutifully cleaned up and let him outside to rid himself of whatever curse remained in his belly, but that’s it for seafood.  I have learned my lesson, even if he won’t learn his and the drooling will always come hand-in-hand with a salmon dinner.

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Premonitions of Things to Come

I was sitting in my backyard yesterday admiring all the full-grown trees that overlook it when I had a very sobering thought that interrupted my peaceful moment.  At some point this fall, all the leaves that look so beautiful while shading my yard will fall and blanket it.  Worse yet, I’m going to have to rake them all up, bag them and put them out at the curb.

We’re not talking about a few trees here and there.  I have a maple in my front yard that is 25 or 30 feet tall with a branch footprint of over 100 feet.  That’s a LOT of leaves.  In the back, we have an ash that is easily 100 feet tall and as bushy as the day is long.  Then, on top of that, we have leafy shrubs that line the perimeter of the property.  That’s not even taking into account all the nearby trees that will have leaves fall and blow into my yard.

Now is the time to prepare.  I’m going to start stocking up on yard waste bags while they’re cheap (the price usually goes up by at least a dollar in September) and start working out my raking muscles.  I’m also considering training the dog to dig in piles of leaves so that they go flying into the bags, and then for him to pick up the bags in his teeth and take them to the curb.  He’s smart, I’m sure he’ll learn.

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Four Years Ago Today

It’s amazing how some days on the calendar seem much more important than others, and today is just such a day.  On August 17 four years ago, my good friend Kenneth invited me out for a few drinks with some of his friends.  Sadly, most of the crew bailed at the last second, but fortunately (oh so fortunately), one person turned up.

The three of us had a great time hanging out, and when it looked like our new friend and I were getting along a little more than usual, Kenneth bowed out to let me spend the rest of the evening alone with a beautiful woman.

Eight months to that day, I proposed to that woman and six months later we were married.  All that happened because I got an invite to go out on the town on August 17.

First off, a big thanks to Kenneth for putting the wheels in motion (whether on purpose or by accident) and for being a great wingman and knowing when it was it was time to head back to base to refuel.

Also, a HUGE thanks to Danielle for being a great girlfriend, then fiancee and finally an amazing wife.  Four years doesn’t sound like very long in the grand scheme of things, but it’s felt like a lifetime (in the good way, not in the prison sentence way) and I’m looking forward to many years of celebrating August 17 as the day I first set eyes on the most beautiful woman in the world.

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