Sugar HQ is now using iCal more than ever, so it's totally out of selfishness that I bring you today's tip. Instead of starting up iCal to view your appointments, you can use Cover Flow! Cover Flow is one of my favorite ways to browse music and photos and search for files. Mostly 'cause I just like the sleek scrolly-ness of it.
A great tip I found on Tekzilla suggests typing "kind:ical" (without quotation marks) into Spotlight, then click "show all." You'll then get a popup Finder window that will list all your iCal events. From there, it's as easy as clicking "Cover Flow" (or the Cover Flow icon) at the top of the nav bar, and you're all set. It's super fast, and I won't have to wait for my events to load every time I open iCal. Sweet.