Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for October, 2010

MusicConnect Toronto

If you’re going to be in downtown Toronto tonight and you love music and/or emerging media, you should most certainly check out MusicConnectTO.  Aside from some fantastic prizes and kickass panelists (click on their names to see their bios), it’s also a great window into the types of media networking and information events that you can find in Toronto if you just keep your eyes peeled.

This city is quickly earning recognition for its grassroots start-up and technology community.  I lump them together because there’s so much overlap, it’s hard to tell where one stops and the other begins.  An event like the one tonight (of which BTD is a sponsor) is a great opportunity to check out the scene and it doesn’t hurt that you can win a Sirius Satellite Radio and subscription, a trip to Cleveland to see the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame or a guest spot as co-host with Craig Norris on CBC Radio 3.

I hope to see you tonight, and be sure to register in order to have your name entered into the prize ballots.

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An Ill Wind Blows

I’m still in shock over last night’s election results and I probably won’t recover until the next municipal election.  I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that the city who elected Mel Lastman could hand Rob Ford a victory, but I am.  Surprised.  Shocked.  Dismayed.

The one positive outcome is that the city councilors who were elected, for the most part, are not Ford supporters, which is kind of strange.  You’d think that people who voted for Rob Ford as mayor would want to elect councilors who would support him in chambers, but that’s not what happened.  That means that council will limit the damage he can do, like canceling existing TTC contracts and wasting our money.

Where did we go wrong?  George Smitherman put it best in his concession speech when he said this election was his to lose, I guess.  Ford touched a nerve with many voters who came out to support his message of ending waste.  I can understand that, I guess.  I just hope that he works to build more consensus as mayor than he ever did as a councilor.  Only time will tell.


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100 Bottles of Beer (and Gin) on the Wall…

Danielle surprised me with a great anniversary gift last week; tickets to last night’s Toronto Beer Experience (part of the Toronto Wine and Spirit Festival) at the Berkley Church.  We had a great time drinking craft beers, munching on tasty gourmet hors d’oeuvres and mingling.  As if that wasn’t enough, the event had some musicians playing live music and a stellar DJ (friend of big time, contributor to SilentTalkie and all around awesome dude David Akermanis).

We tried some awesome beers (a pumpkin ale that tasted like fall should and a ginger ale that knocked my socks off), some interesting beers that I’m glad I could try (chipotle pepper beer?  Too damned spicy) and some beers that weren’t beers at all.

For example, we fell in love with Victoria Gin, the only gin that Danielle has tried and liked.  It was so smooth, you could easily drink it neat or with just a splash of soda water or lemonade.  Adding a lime to it caused it to explode with flavour, and I was sad to learn that provincial law kept them from selling bottles out from behind the bar.

The next time we go (and there will be a next time), it might be fun to get a crew of people together and write up some review cards so we can compare notes on all the drinks.  Who’s in?

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Up in the Sky! It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s…

This morning, the man on the radio said a word and I smiled.  It was a beautiful and poetic word that sounds ‘cute’ as it rolls off the tongue, and yet many people don’t like what the word represents.  That word was ‘flurries’.

Flurries are just a hint of snow, but a sign of what will come in the near future.  They foreshadow the end of fall, the coming of Christmas and bring on cravings for hot chocolate and a toboggan a the top of a scarily tall hill.  They remind us that we’ll soon be snuggled up under blankets in our toasty, warm houses when we’re not outside making snowmen and throwing snowballs.

Sure, that’s the silver lining to shoveling driveways and some hairy winter driving, but if you’ve got to take the good with the bad, why not focus more on the good?  It’s just a matter of time and unless you run away to Florida (like we’re doing in November, by the way), you can’t escape it, so embrace it.

So, who’s up for a big-ass snowball fight in one of the big city parks when we get our first snowfall?

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Tuning out Col. Williams and his Trial

I’m not sure if you’ve been following the case of Col. Russell Williams, but if you watch or read the news in Canada, you can’t avoid it.  Thanks to a push by a group of large Canadian media companies, no detail is being held back from the public.  I imagine that’s because he’s already plead guilty, so there’s no fear that future jurors could be tainted should there be a mistrial or an appeal.

I’ve had to stop hearing anything about the case, which is why I haven’t linked to it here.  The details are just too gruesome, and I find myself losing faith in mankind (not to mention wanting to put bars on all my windows).  To make matters worse, the media outlets have been trying to figure out how to get the most out of this one story.

Already knowing some of the details but not being able to share them, these outlets fought for the right to share all this information with the public.  Now that it’s out there, and there is public outcry at just how heinous, detailed and horrible all these details are, these same outlets are now moving into the second phase of the story; asking if it’s in poor taste to post the transcripts of the videos shared in court, images from evidence and details of the assaults and murders.

They want to have their cake (share every scintillating detail, no matter how shocking) and then eat it too (moving to the moral high ground and talking about how this information may be too much for the general public to handle).  Either way, I’m disgusted with the whole issue and I’m just going to ignore it, aside from wanting to know what kind of sentence is handed down by the courts.

God help the families of his victims for having to live and relive their loved ones’ terror in the courtroom and then again in the public eye.  I hope these people can find some solace once all this is over and grieve in peace.

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Righteous Poutine is Good for the Soul

Every season change requires us to adjust somehow as our bodies react to the abrupt changes in temperature, weather and light.  I don’t know about you, but I always find the shift to autumn the hardest.

Don’t get me wrong, this is my favourite season, but even our favourite things sometimes come with unpleasant side effects.  For example, the increasingly cooler temperatures are dropping before our bodies can fully adjust, which means that we’re burning more fuel to keep ourselves warm.  Couple that with darker mornings as our daily ration of daylight begins to lessen, and you’ve got a recipe for feeling tired ALL THE TIME.  (Note that this reflection on what causes fall fatigue is far from scientific, just anecdotal)

It stand to reason that the best way to combat that tiredness is a head-on attack at the root causes.  We need to spend more time outside so our bodies can begin to adjust to the cold and we need to eat all kinds of high-energy foods, like cheese (dairy and sodium), potatoes (starches and carbohydrates) and gravy (fat).

And that, my friends, is how you mentally justify the “need” to sit in a park and eat poutine as often as possible; something I plan on doing at the first possible chance.  Aside from the physical benefits I’ve already stated, just think of the mental and emotional benefits of spending time in nature and enjoying a nice, warm comfort food.  It really is the most sensible way to deal with the autumn blahs.

If you’re impressed with my rationalizing abilities, and you have something you’d like to justify in your life, I’m available on a contract basis to help you with all your rationalizing needs.  Do you prefer grocery shopping in your jammies, but feel terrible about being seen in public like that?  I can help.  Are you afraid of what your friends will think when they find out you obsessively collect Beanie Babies?  I can probably help with that.  Do you like sticking pennies up your nose?  Well, I’m not a miracle worker, but I’ll see what I can do.

My rates are reasonable (I accept gift certificates for many of Toronto’s finer poutine restaurants), and my hours are flexible (because I can justify having flexible hours), so let me know your problem and I’ll help you with your solution.

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Time to Rock This Monday Out

Wow.  What a gorgeous fall weekend.  I hope everyone was able to get outside and enjoy it.  We spent most of Saturday outside with the dog, raking up leaves and mowing the lawns.  Danielle even tore up our garden in preparation for the vegetables we plan on planting this coming spring.

On Saturday night, we headed to Yuk Yuk’s to take in a stand-up show that was part of Canadian Comedy Week.  While waiting in line outside, we were treated to an appearance by Tom Green, who was shooting some TV bit.  Sadly, he didn’t talk to the crowd or make funny in any way.  That was a bit of a letdown.

The show, however, was not.  We laughed and laughed and laughed some more.  Good stand-up is always a great time.  A few jokes fell flat, most notably some ill-placed racial humour by a young new comic from Calgary.  Still, it was a great night out.

This week is a busy one, and I feel like I’m starting it off on the wrong foot.  I’m dead tired, and I can’t quite figure out why.  I don’t feel like I’m getting sick, and while I didn’t get as much sleep as I would’ve liked this weekend, it was only because my body woke up by itself before it really had to.  Maybe it’s trying to kill me.

Despite being so tired, I’m focused on having a busy, productive and happy Monday, mostly because I have no choice but to be awake, so I may as well make the most out of it.  I guess that’s what they call a “Silver Lining”.  Huzzah!

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Why Aren’t Bed Bugs Being Fought by Gov’t?

With municipal elections in Ontario looming, I had a recent conversation with someone who was surprised that the rampant bed bug problem wasn’t being addressed, both by people trying to get elected and governments in general.  Why hasn’t the government taken strong action against this growing scourge? Why have we been left to our own devices?

West Nile is a disease that harms people, and can even kill.  When it showed up in Ontario, the government took action to limit the spread of the disease.  Since mosquitoes are the most common source, that meant eradicating their breeding grounds through spraying large areas of standing water and a robust information campaign to let Ontarians know what they could do to help.

In contrast, bed bugs are simply an annoyance.  Their ability to spread disease is VERY minimal and I doubt anyone has been killed by a swarm of them, which means that from a public health standpoint, they’re relatively low on the totem pole of risk.  They bite, you itch, and all that is repeated ad nauseum as they breed like rabbits thanks to your unwilling blood donations.  Are they disgusting?  You betcha, but compared to the health issues from cockroches, mice, rats and all the other creepy crawlies that hide in the dark corners of our fair city, bed bugs just aren’t damaging enough.

If we want action as citizens, we’re going to have to raise our voices a little higher to get civic action on this.  As it stands, the government’s mandate to mitigate risk and provide safety and security just doesn’t include killing these critters.  Hopefully this doesn’t scare you any more than you already were.

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