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The definitive host: November 2012

The definitive host

de·fin·i·tive host (duh-fin'eh-tiv) n. 1) An organism where a parasite undergoes the adult and sexual stages of its reproductive cycle 2) Someone you go to for interesting stories and/or facts, and puts on one hell of a dinner party 3) This blog, devoted to science and other geeky subjects

Friday, November 30, 2012

Last November Update - YOU Decide

And thus ends the Movember and NaNoWriMo great experiment!

How did I do?

Well, let's see:

For NaNoWriMo, I managed to get through a pesky piece of writing that had been bothering me for quite a long time. I could not come up with a good way to get my characters out of a particular situation, but thanks to this (and some help from writing friends), I managed to overcome that hurdle and write what I think is some pretty good stuff.

Is "The Black" done?

No, not even remotely. But, I wanted to make a dent and a dent has been made. I will endeavor to write more of it soon and will, of course, keep you all apprised.

As for Movember, I am facing a bit of a crisis. I do not know if I should shave off what I have cultivated over this past month. So, I thought, who better than my loyal readers and friends to decide for me?

So, I pose it to you - below are pictures of me in my "clean-shaven" and "Movember" states, and I want you to let me know what you think. Should I go to one extreme or the other? Perhaps some transitional state? Or, should I just let go and grow a full beard?

The choice, as they say, is up to you.

Let me know your choice through either the comment section below, a tweet or whatever way you wish to contact me, and I promise that I will follow thorough.
Movember - Doin' It Ginger Style!
Unshaven - Blue Steel (or Le Tigre, if you prefer)

You have 24 hours to decide ... GO.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

November Update Part 2 - The Mustache Strikes Back

With just over a week to go in November, I thought I would post another update on how both my November projects: NaNoWriMo and Movember are coming along.

Firstly, Movember is going quite well. I have developed a very Walter White-esque style of mustache and goatee. And the interest and donations have been staggering! 

I would like to thank every single one of you who have donated to my Movember campaign and helped me raise a total so far of $275!

But, I think we can do better.

If you would still like to donate, there is still time to do so, if you are able. Doing so is easy, just follow this link: http://mobro.co/davidmanly

I will, as promise, at the end of the month post both a before and after picture here so that you can all gaze at the glorious mustache that has resulted. The colour will definitely surprise you (not brown, like my hair)!

As for NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month) has been going swimmingly! I have written a number of chapters in my novel, The Black, and the plot is progressing along nicely. Recently, I just wrote the most disturbingly dark chapter of it yet, and I was so excited to do so.

As a treat, here in an excerpt from that chapter, with a few names and other details redacted, so as not to ruin the story:

The Return

I was stuck to that spot, transfixed, staring at the pool of inky blackness that [REDACTED] eyes had become. There was no trace [REDACTED], as if they had been cut out and replaced with blank space. No only was there no sign of life within them, but the darkness was so deep that they seemed to drain the colour from the surrounding areas.

But I could not look away.

The buzzing background noise of the klaxon became louder and louder, but there was something else behind it … music?


And then, the darkness began to spill forth from [REDACTED] eyes like black paint, rolling down [REDACTED] cheeks, mouth and chin. Covering [REDACTED] arms and torso, sticking to [REDACTED] jacket, all the way down to the floor. Instead of abating, the darkness continued to gush forth [REDACTED] and the sweetest music I had ever heard came through, but there was a familiar tune to it, like from a time long forgotten.

A lullaby.



Be sure to stay tuned for more updates as the story continues to develop!

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

A November Update

Welcome to November!

Or, as I like to call it, the month of doing .... things!

There are two things that I am taking a part in this November, and I will be using this blog to keep you, my loving readers, up to date on the progress.

The first, is that it is National Novel Writing Month (or, NaNoWriMo), in which aspiring and professional writers are encouraged to write a novel during the month of November. There are a few rules, but, I have decided to do my own thing in the spirit of NaNoWriMo.

I have decided to pick "The Black" back up and start writing it again.

Now, there is no way that the story will be able to be finished, as it is turning into a long story. But, I hope to be able to put a significant dent into the writing.

As of today, I have finished 13 chapters and it is amazing how many things keep popping up to write about. My goal is to write a little each day and for one full day on the weekend (at least). We'll see how I am able to stick to that schedule.

The other thing happening this month is that it is the month of Movember, which is where men grow mustaches of all shapes and sizes, to raise money for Men's health awareness (specifically prostate and mental health issues).

At work, all of the male employees have decided to band together and grow mustaches and raise money.

Once the month is done, I will post a before and after picture, so you can fully appreciate the mustache :)

If you would like to donate to me or my team, you can click the link here.

See you all soon for another update!

The Mustachioed Manly

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Look Back

A year ago today, I started a new job in a completely new environment. Because of that, I was allowed to work remotely in Toronto, until I was able to find a permanent place to stay. But, I first needed to spend five days in the office getting the lay of the land, meeting everyone, etc.

That is not what this post is about.

During those five days, I learned that a beloved High School drama teacher of mine had passed away a few weeks earlier and a memorial was being held that week. However, because I had just started a new job, there was no way I would be able to attend and pay my respects.

Instead, I wrote a little piece in the online Guest Book, which went like this:

“Mr. Graham was one of the greatest teachers I ever had the pleasure of being taught by, through not just his attitude and jovial nature, but because he genuinely cared about his students and his subject.

He was a friend who really helped motivate my life in ways I never knew. I think he would be proud to know that he was the first person to mention that I had a way with words ... and started me on the path to become a journalist.

He shall be greatly missed.”

I was reminded of his passing recently, and because I could not attend and extol his virtues in person they way I wanted to; I decided to write a letter, included below.

While it is directed to one specific teacher, I believe it can apply to any individual who has touched our lives.

Thank you.



Dear Mr. Graham,

I was driving by our old high school the other day, and was instantly reminded of you and your unfortunate passing. It really says something about the teacher you were that you could leave such an impression on someone after so many years.

You were the drama teacher that everyone wanted to have in every subject: engaging, funny, warm, passionate and smart as a whip (which is helpful in a class where so much is dependent on memorization and improvisation). Your class was the highlight for me during those early years, and was a mainstay throughout my academic career.

We met in Grade 9, and from that first day of drama class, you were able to spot something in me. Maybe it was that I used to act in plays and musicals as a kid, or that you found a similar-minded individual, I do not know. But I am glad you did.

And why you decided to call both my twin brother and I Mr. Manly, I will never know, but having a Mr. Graham approved nickname was a badge of honour not many students got to wear.

You inspired me to tackle many difficult projects in your class, and here are just a few highlights:
  • Giving my a monologue of a wine connoisseur and spending countless times with me going over how to pronounce “Chateauneuf-du-Pape” and the right way to sound like a hipster
  • Letting me direct a stage version of the classic “To Serve Man” Twilight Zone episode
  • Putting me as the “Doctore” in a group commedia dell’arte production with a girl I had a large crush on (thanks for that, by the way)
  • Letting me write a play for my Grade 13 individual project based on the Four Horsemen on the Apocalypse entitled “Death comes to dinner”
But most importantly, I want to thank you for mentioning off-handed one day that I had a way with words and am a great storyteller. The quote, while I took it as the compliment it was, it stuck with me.

And when I had to make that decision about whether to pursue drama (which I adore) or biology (which I love) in university, you were happy to sit down with me and discuss it. I still remember your candor and kind words when you said, “Drama is your passion, but science is your life.”

“Never lose that passion and take it with you,” you said, at the end of the conversation, and I have never forgotten that to this day.

Getting to know you was a highlight of my time in High School, and I am glad that I managed to get to know you before you were taken far too soon. I know that I am not the only student who you influenced, as I am sure you helped everyone just by being the engaging teacher you were.

Wherever you are, I hope you get the best seats in the house: Center-aisle, front row orchestra.

David (AKA Mr. Manly)

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