Friday, 27 December 2013

This year I will...

…train harder than ever before. Yep, for me, 2014 is going to be the year I achieve my personal best. I’m going to eat well, practice hard, and be my very best on the track team.

Of course that’s at the top of my New Year’s resolutions list. But I have some other goals as well.

I am going to write the best comic book I possibly can, and submit it ON TIME. (It’s almost done, guys, and I LOVE it. I hope the judges too, as well. Can you imagine if it was illustrated by MARVEL. Eeep!)

And if I don’t win, I resolve to not be upset about it. Because you know what? I gave it 100%.

I’m going to pay more attention in science class. Last year, I promised myself I would do better in Math and while it’s still not my best subject, I actually improved my grade. This year, I’m tackling science.

I resolve to read more books. I’m going to read 25 books this year. That seems like a lot, but it’s about two a month. I can handle that, right? PLUS, I’m going to blog about them – I might even start a new page on this blog just for books I think you might like. What do you think?

Gotta jet! I’m just putting the finishing touches on that comic story I’m writing. Then I’ll start my first book of the year – maybe a Jim Benton book: Franny K. Stein – Mad Scientist. I bet that could even help me with science!

Happy New Year!

- Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 20 December 2013

A fun-filled week of tradition

This is one of my favourite weeks of the year – the week leading up to Christmas.

We have a whole bunch of family traditions over the holidays, starting this weekend with the annual Gingerbread House extravaganza. Mom and I will cook up some delicious gingerbread, while Dad and my sister, Amelia head to the candy store for the accessories. We’ll also use some of our left-over Halloween candy, like the suckers and lifesavers. Last year, we built a castle. I wonder what Dad has in mind this time.

On Sunday, Mom and Grandma will make Ginger Snaps (they’re called Bettys Gingersnaps on and Nanaimo Bars – two of my favourites. Plus, Mom does a cookie exchange with some of the ladies from her work. Baked goods aplenty! My tummy is already rumbling.

Monday night, we’ll all drive around the neighbourhood looking at Christmas lights. There’s one house around the corner that does such a great job they should be on the news. I love seeing all of that brilliance.

Of course, we’ll be delivering Santa’s Anonymous gifts on Christmas Eve, and then watching The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Sometimes we play Whovilleopoly or some other board game. And before bed, we take turns reading from a book, usually a great Christmas story.

Then it’s Christmas morning! Mom makes a delicious pancake breakfast. Afterwards, we go skating (if it’s not too cold), and then head over to my grandparents house for turkey dinner. This year, I’m learning how to make the stuffing. I can hardly wait.

Yep. It’s definitely the most wonderful time of the year. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

Gotta jet!

- Chase Superman Duffy

PS – It’s a busy week, but I’m putting the finishing touches on my story for the comic contest. I can’t wait to submit it on December 31. Wish me luck!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Giving back over the holidays

I’m still too young to volunteer at the Santa’s Anonymous warehouse in the city, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some other ways I can spread the holiday spirit. 

Dad and I are already planning to join the Santa’s Anonymous delivery team, taking wrapped gifts to dozens of kids across the city. It’s a great way for the family to spend some time together on Christmas Eve – not to mention indulge in a yummy mug of hot chocolate while we navigate the roads.

But, Christmas isn’t all about the presents – it’s about SO much more. So I’ve brainstormed five cool ideas of ways I can “give back” this holiday season.

1. Donate some of the clothes I’ve outgrown, especially warm jackets, mittens, toques, and other warm essentials. There are drop boxes all around the province. You can find one near you. You don’t want all of that stuff cluttering up your closet anyway, do you?

2. Shovel snow for a neighbour! A great way to do a good deed AND work in some exercise. Don’t forget to bundle up, though. Brrr.

3. Help pick up trash at a local park or along your street. All that snowfall is beautiful, but it loses some of its sparkle when there’s garbage everywhere. Fill a bag or two and I bet you’ll see a HUGE difference. (Wear bright clothes and stay off the main streets – safety first!)

4. Create a Facebook or Twitter site for a local non-profit group to spread the word about ongoing needs, or retweet status updates. (Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter!)

5. Gather up gently used books, magazines and movies and donate them to a local children’s hospital. I’ve got a big box of my favourites ready to go.

Cool stuff, right? Go ahead and copy me – the more “giving back” the merrier! And please, share YOUR ideas. 

Gotta jet! I’m working on my comic some more this weekend. Things are starting to really come together. Which is good, because the deadline is just around the corner! Have a great week.

- Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 6 December 2013

Crafting up a storm

Remember last year? My Mom decided to make all of our family Christmas cards – all billion of them. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but I remember that my right hand was very sore. Well, it turns out Mom isn’t making cards this year – though, we will have to sign all of those that she does buy. (One day, she’ll agree to go digital, right?!)

BUT, that doesn’t mean I’m off the hook for holiday crafts. 2013 will be year of the ornament - Mom has decided to one for each member of our family. Of course, that means we’re ALL making ornaments, even Dad. This should be interesting!

I was a bit nervous at first, but then Mom showed me some pictures of what we’ll be making. Her ideas were inspired by the tutorials and pictures on this blog. Mom bought some clear “ball” ornaments at the local craft store, glue, buttons, paint, glitter and ribbon. That’s it! And look at what we’re making!

Thread some different sized buttons through coloured string for these cute Christmas tree ornaments.

A little bit of old newsprint goes a long way in making these “word-inspired” Christmas ornaments. Top them off with some silver glitter and voila – perfect for the writer on your list. (hint hint)

My sister is a WAY better painter than me, but even I can draw a few white lines to look like trees. These are going to be beautiful!

I’m looking forward to some family time this weekend, getting ready for the holidays. But I’m also planning to do something very special. I’m writing a comic! It’s for a contest – and the winner COULD get their comic illustrated by Marvel. MARVEL! I’m so excited.

The ideas are just starting to come together, but the deadline is – gulp – the end of this month. So when I’m not crafting, I’ll be writing this weekend. Two great ways to ride out the next few days of cold and snow, don’t you think?

Gotta jet!

- Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 29 November 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It’s a big weekend in the Duffy household — Mom is digging through the boxes in the basement to deck the halls, and I mean every hall in the house. Christmas decorating is a weekend long event for my family!

Last year, Mom put me in charge of the dining room. Sounds like a big responsibility, but actually, I just follow her step-by-step guide to where stuff belongs—like, how the white poinsettia goes next to the white owl on Mom’s silver tray in the very middle of the table. Or, how she wants only the white candles in the dining room. Green goes in the living room, and so on.

My sister usually sets up the nativity scene and Dad’s in charge of the lights. ALL of the lights. We have white lights on the roof, around the windows and doors, and throughout the hedges along the sidewalk. Green and red lights flicker on the big evergreen tree in the front yard. And don’t even get me started about the lights for our INSIDE tree—Dad uses about 15 strings of them. Every single light has to be perfectly placed and spaced. It takes forever.

I used to think December 1 was too early for putting up holiday decorations, but with the amount of snow in my front yard? It’s already looking a LOT like Christmas. Tis the season, indeed!

Whoops, dad’s already caught in a string of lights :-/  Gotta jet!

— Chase Superman Duffy

P.S. – Happy Hanukah to those who celebrate!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

To the beat of my own drum

We’re learning all about the drums in school this week in celebration of National Drumming Month. Not just the actual technical aspects of drumming—it’s a lot of work!—but also, what drumming symbolizes in different cultures.

Did you know that drums are found in every culture in the world and have existed since before 6000 BC? That’s a super long time!

I can’t possibly talk about every kind of drum, or even what drumming means to different cultures (there’s so many, and you should look it up sometime…), but I thought I’d share my favourites from class.

In AFRICA, drums accompany a bunch of different types of ceremonies such as births, deaths and marriages. But in ancient times, drumming was used to stir up emotions before battles. The noise would cause your adrenaline to kick start, kind of like when I hear the starting pistol at track and field races.

In MEXICO, drums are treated with respect! In fact, my teacher says temples and altars are dedicated to them. Drums are considered an imitation of natural sounds and a magical means of communication. Sounds like something I could use in one of my stories, right?

Music is an essential part of life in AUSTRALIA, and the drums play a key role in teaching about culture, the land, human nature and even the supernatural. I think I need to learn a bit more about that.

And finally, there’s JAPAN. In class, we learned about these drums called Talko Drums. Apparently, they’re associated with the Gods. I really want to hear one of them played sometime. Maybe I’ll YouTube it…

Anyway, I gotta jet! Have a super weekend.  

- Chase Superman Duffy

P.S. Yes, I’m asking mom for a pair of mixing spoon drumming sticks that I could use at the kitchen table in my Christmas stocking…

Friday, 15 November 2013

The big sleep debate

I’m a pretty typical kid—I don’t like getting up early on school days, I like staying up late, and on the weekends, I really like to sleep in.

This is where my Mom and I have a difference of opinion. I get that maybe sleeping past noon is going to mess up my sleep pattern for the week. But unless Mom’s making her famous waffles, I’m not crawling out of bed before 9 a.m.

Mom isn’t convinced. So, I looked up the sleep needs for the average teen.

Did you know that during sleep, some pretty important body functions and brain activity occurs? Teens need about 9.25 hours of sleep per night—I got that straight from the National Sleep Foundation website.

When teens don’t get enough sleep, they can get moody (just ask my Mom). Lack of sleep limits your ability to learn, listen and concentrate. You can eat more, or choose the wrong foods (like chocolate and soda) because you don’t have the energy to wait for or make healthy meals.

But worst of all? Not enough sleep can result in poor performance. Gasp!

See why I need to win the sleep debate?

I plan on turning off my alarm clock tonight and when Mom tries to wake me up, I’ll be prepared for the debate this time.

Gotta jet!

- Chase Superman Duffy