Friday, 28 February 2014

The treadmill isn't just for running...

…or walking.

I mean, obviously it’s great for BOTH of those things—and during the winter, it’s where I do most of my training for track and field.

But the other day, an author by the name of Arthur Slade came into our class and talked about how he WRITES while he’s on his treadmill. 

He’s customized his machine so he can walk and type at The. Same. Time. #mindblown

Of course, I’m not that talented (yet), and building a treadmill-table might be beyond my Dad’s basic carpentry skills, BUT, I figured out what I CAN do on the treadmill, besides training.

I can THINK.

In fact, I can brainstorm story ideas, character profiles, settings and plot points. I can work through story snags, or even (I can’t believe I am saying this) think about homework problems and come up with solutions. In fact, brainstorming may be the single best way for me to avoid the boring treadmill workout while I wait for Spring, because, everyone knows it’s so much prettier to run outside. Don’t you agree?

Gotta jet!

— Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 21 February 2014

Treats for YOUR dog Rex (or Sam, or...)

I don’t have a dog.

I want a dog (hint hint, Mom), but pets don’t really fit into our lifestyle. My sister and I are involved in a lot of activities, and my parents are both working professionals, which mean we’re not always around to take care of a dog.

At least, that’s what I keep telling myself so I don’t have to think about not having a dog.

BUT, this Sunday is International Dog Biscuit Day and I’ve decided to make treats for some of my favourite dogs. Like, my friend Sophie’s poodle. She’s really cute. The poodle, I mean…

I bet you didn’t know how easy dog biscuits can be to make, did you? Well, I thought I’d share the recipe from my Grandma’s family cookbook so that you can make treats for all of the dogs in your life, too!

What you need:
2 cups              whole wheat flour                        500 mL
½ cup               wheat germ                                 125 mL
¼ cup               skim milk powder                         50 mL
                         pinch of salt
½ cup               no-salt chicken stock or water    125 mL
¼ cup               canola oil                                     50 mL
1 Tbsp              molasses or honey                      15 mL
1                       egg                                              1

What you do:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. In a large bowl, measure and combine the flour, wheat germ, skim milk powder, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together stock or water, canola oil, molasses or honey, and egg.
  4. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until well blended.
  5. Spread a small amount of flour on a clean counter.
  6. Turn dough onto the floured surface. Knead the dough a couple of times.
  7. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough ¼- ½ inch (0.5-1 cm) thick.
  8. Cut the dough into bone shapes with a cookie cutter or knife.
  9. Transfer cookie shapes to an ungreased cookie sheet.
  10. Using a fork, prick each cookie several times.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the cookies, until pale golden and firm.
  12. Turn the oven off, but leave the “bones” inside for a few hours to harden as they cool.
  13. Store in a tightly-sealed container.

Easy right?

I can’t wait to take over a batch for Sophie’s dog. Anyways, I gotta jet!

— Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 14 February 2014

Happy "un" Valentine's Day?

Uh oh. It’s the sappiest time of year.

The day when my Dad buys my Mom flowers, chocolates, and sometimes jewelry. And THIS YEAR, he went ALL out. He bought her a star! No, really. I guess you can do that—and it’s not even very much money. It’s named after her and everything. * rolling my eyes *

Okay, I admit, that’s pretty cool. I’m really interested in outer space — one of the Chase Duffy adventure comics even talks about me going in a rocket to visit three planets. And, Astronaut Robert Thirsk came to our Science class last year and talked about his adventures, which really got me thinking about different career choices.

But, um, getting back to Valentine’s Day, it’s NOT my favourite time of the year. We exchange cards at school, and I always buy my Mom and sister chocolate or candy hearts. But sometimes, when I see all the red and pink and hearts and sappy Cupid stuff, I wish I lived somewhere where they don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day (like Korea or Brazil), or at least celebrate it in a different way.

Like, in Vietnam, couples traditionally wear the same style and/or colour of clothes to celebrate Valentine’s Day. (On second thought, maybe that’s not so cool…)

The Japanese actually celebrate on TWO days. On February 14, girls give dark chocolate to the boys that they like. And on March 14, boys give girls they like cookies or white chocolate. Talk about dragging things out!

In Spain, only people in love give and get presents—not family and friends. That makes sense to me.

Maybe I just don’t get it. What do you like—or dislike—about Valentine’s Day?

Gotta jet!

— Chase Superman Duffy 

Friday, 7 February 2014

What the Dickens?

It’s Charles Dickens’ birthday today! You may not know who that is, but you WILL know one of his most famous books: A Christmas Carol. Not only is it one of the most popular stories retold throughout history, it’s also credited for changing how we celebrate Christmas.

Did you know that before A Christmas Carol, the family feast wasn’t an important part of the holidays? Can you imagine Christmas dinner without a big turkey and all the trimmings? Charles Dickens even introduced the concept of a Christmas TREE. Decorating the tree is one of my family’s favourite parts of the holiday season!

I know, Christmas is over, but celebrating Dickens’ birthday got me thinking about books and authors who have made a difference, either personally or for society as a whole. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all deep on you (it IS Friday—and Superbowl weekend…Go Seattle!) but there’s a number of writers who’ve made an impact on me.

Like, if it wasn’t for Roald Dahl, I might never have starting writing my fan fiction story about the Mad Hatter. What’s fan fiction? Um…it’s when you take the characters from a published book and write about them in your own story. It’s kind of tricky, because you have to keep true to the character. Not that I would ever consider publishing them—but fan fiction is a great springboard into creating your own characters.

Anyway, the point is, authors and books have an impact. And today, I’m raising a glass of water and toasting the writer who helped shape Christmas—Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens.

Gotta jet!

— Chase Superman Duffy