Friday, 31 July 2015

This book's for you

My family is gearing up for it’s annual holiday, and we’ve decided to make this trip (wherever we end up going) all about READING.

That’s because my sister and I are WAY behind on our summer book lists. No one forces us to read (we love it), but we like to challenge each other. Usually, I win—but the past few weeks I’ve been so busy, I’ve hardly read at all.

So, in no particular order, here are the five books I plan to read before school starts in September.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
This book is about an origami finger puppet (in the shape of Yoda from Star Wars) that sits on the finger of a quiet kid named Dwight—a finger puppet that has the uncanny ability to predict stuff. Like who will win American Idol or when Dwight’s teacher will spring the next pop quiz. This sounds awesome!

Big Nate: In a Class by Himself by Lincoln Pierce
If you haven’t read any of the books from this hilarious series, you’re seriously missing out! In this book, Nate gets a message in the form of a fortune cookie that reads: Tomorrow, you will surpass all others. It sounds like “luck” is finally going to go Nate’s way—or is it? I can’t wait to find out!

Tales of the Sixth Grade Muppet by Kirk Scroggs
A 6th grader obsessed with Gonzo the Great wakes up one morning to find he’s become a Muppet, just like his idol. Need I say more? Okay, maybe one more thing...this sounds AMAZING!

Death Cloud by Andrew Lane
If you love a good mystery, this book is definitely for you. Based on the character of Sherlock Holmes, a young sleuth takes on his first case. Who doesn't need a little mystery in their summer?

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Not new, but new to me, this is the story of a boy named Milo that travels in an electric car to places like Dictionopolis (a land of words), and Digitopolis (a land of numbers). Sounds neat, right? (Well, except the numbers part!)

How many from this list have YOU read? What did you think?

Gotta jet—I’ve got some reading to do!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 24 July 2015

Celebrating with family—and food!

This is one of my favourite weekends of the summer because traditionally, as many of  the family as possible gathers for a lunch to celebrate Cousins’ Day (today!) and Aunts / Uncles Day (Sunday). Sometimes we cram as many as 50 relatives at my grandparents' farm!

And this year, it’s even more important than ever to celebrate family. It’s been super hot this summer (so hot, I’ve been doing my running practice EARLY in the morning or later in the evening) with very little rain—which means crops, like my Grandpa’s canola field—are struggling. Maybe you’ve noticed the fields aren’t as bright nor as full as previous years?

I know farmers have good years and bad years—like the one time we had so much rain Grandpa’s field actually flooded (not to mention our basement!) But I also know my grandparents are worried about their crop, as well as those of their fellow farmers. This weekend, they could use a little family support.

So, Mom and I have decided to take some of the pressure off Grandma this year by doing a lot of the cooking for the family BBQ ourselves. I’m in charge of the salad. I plan to use up some of those fresh strawberries from the market, along with spinach, kale and other yummy vegetables. Here’s my recipe for the dressing:

Strawberry Salad Dressing

1 cup (250 mL) strawberries (sliced, fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup (50 mL) frozen orange juice concentrate
1 Tbsp (15 mL) vinegar
3 Tbsp (45 mL) canola oil
3 Tbsp (45 mL) honey
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
pepper to taste

Just mix together and drizzle over your salad. Sounds yummy, right?

Anyway, I gotta jet! I hope you have a chance to celebrate with family this weekend!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 17 July 2015

One small step for man...

Maybe it’s because of all this cool stuff on the news about Pluto—the planet that was, and then wasn’t—or the fact that I’ve always been fascinated with everything to do with outer space (excited for the Star Wars movie, anyone?!), but when I realized that July 20 is MOON DAY, I decided to dig up a few facts, just for fun.

Obviously I learned some neat things. Like, the fact that the moon isn’t actually round—it’s egg-shaped! And, everyone knows the moon rotates around the Earth, but did you know that it orbits at ten miles per hour and takes 27.3 days to fully circle? That seems like forever. (My grandpa’s tractor can probably go faster than that!)

A simple Google search will give you tons of facts about the moon, but I learned two fascinating things that I’m going to combine and use in a short story! The first is that every full moon has a name. You’re probably most familiar with Harvest Moon (which happens in September) but the July full moon is called THUNDER MOON. Sounds SPOOOKY, right?

That alone sparked a few story ideas. But then I learned that because the moon has no atmosphere or wind, footprints never disappear. That means when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon on July 21, 1969, his footprints are still there.

You can see where I’m going with this, right? My character goes up in space and lands on the moon. When he steps off the shuttle, there are footprints everywhere…and some of them don’t look human. Dun-Da-Du-Dun!

Gotta jet! I’ve got a short story to write!

— Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 10 July 2015

It IS a small world, after all!

The craziest thing happened at the Calgary Stampede last weekend. I mean, besides the freak hail storm, and me coming face-to-face with a statue of…ME. (I admit, that was pretty strange!)

But even crazier still, my grandma ran into one of her high school friends—in the mini donut line!—and I guess they haven’t seen each other in almost 20 years. Grandma’s friend, Sara, lives in New York. (NEW YORK! Almost nine million people live in New York!) and this is her first Calgary Stampede.

There are pavilions and rides, indoor events and rodeos. Sara literally could have been anywhere. But apparently, she likes mini donuts as much as my grandma. What are the odds of them finding each other in a crowd of 160,000 Stampeding people? It just goes to show…it really IS a small world, after all.

Tomorrow is World Population Day, so I thought it might be fun to do a bit of fact-checking. Did you know that there are about 9 BILLION people living in the world? To give that some context…there are just over a million people living in Calgary. Multiply that by a thousand! (Yikes. Can you imagine the traffic jam?)

Gotta jet! We’re heading back to the Stampede this weekend. Maybe we’ll bump into each other on the grounds? <grin>

~ Chase Superman Duffy

P.S. That guy in the picture? That's James Grasdal, the illustrator of the Superman Duffy comics. He's not signing at the Stampede this weekend, but the character statues are all there. Don't forget to stop by the Alberta Canola Producers Commission booth in the Agrium today Hi!

Friday, 3 July 2015

Wahoo! It's time to Stampede

I love the Calgary Stampede!

It’s not just the rides or the food (but both are pretty awesome!) For me, the Stampede is a ten-day celebration of agriculture—and since my grandparents are crop producers, I have a special connection to “the land.”

Every year, my entire family heads to the Stampede grounds to check out the rodeo, bite into some delicious (or strange) food, take a spin on the Zipper, and of course, tour the pavilions.

I actually can’t wait to see the Alberta Canola Producers’ Commission booth tomorrow. It’s going to be EPIC this year. Not only can you learn a lot about canola from the producers who take time away from the fields to talk to consumers about their crops (and answer any questions), this year, there are LIFE-SIZE 3D CHARACTERS from the Chase “Superman” Duffy comic series. There’s even one of me! 

I’m so getting my picture taken with “statue me”—you should too! Put your picture on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter and tag @SupermanDuffy for a chance to win a signed set of the comics. That’s ten books!

Gotta Jet! Hope to see you at the Stampede. Wahoo!

— Chase Superman Duffy