Saturday, 30 July 2016

Summer So Far: Whoa, we’re halfway there!

I’m super excited about the long weekend because the family always gets together for a barbecue, board games, and lots of laughs around the fire. Since we’ll be at my grandparents’ house, I’ll also practice running around their canola field, and taking pictures of it with Dad as part of our “summer goals” list.

But the first of August isn’t just a holiday—it’s a reminder that summer is already HALF over. And while I really don’t mind the idea of going back to school, there are many things on that goals list I haven’t made much time for. That has to change, or summer will be over before I realize it.

Obviously I’ve been running, and if you’ve been following my blog, you know I’m VERY excited about the upcoming Olympics. (Missed a few posts? Here’s a link to the archives: I’ve started a new short story, but the weather’s been so nice (mostly!) that it’s hard to keep my butt glued to the chair. I might take my notebook to the farm this weekend and do some handwriting, just to get my creative juices flowing again. Got any better ideas?

I’m also going to pack some books. I like reading first thing in the morning, or just before bed. But with only three books read so far this summer, I’ve got a little ways to go to meet my 10 Book Goal. Maybe you have some recommendations for me? 

My sister and I are also playing Pokemon Go, which wasn’t on the summer To Do list, but Mom says as long as we’re careful (no chasing Pikachu into the street!) she doesn’t mind me being on my phone. At least we’re out walking. (Well, I’m walking…Amelia rides beside me on her new bike…) We’re on level 3 (hey, we just started!) — what level are you on? Willing to share some tips? (We found out the hard way that there are no Pokestops in the wilderness when we went camping last weekend!)

Of course, there are tons of festivals and events going on throughout Alberta I’d still like to hit up, but I guess I’d better hurry: summer is HALF over, and I have a LOT of things I want to accomplish.

On that note…Gotta Jet! Have an awesome holiday long weekend.

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Countdown to the Olympics: The Athletes

More than 10,000 athletes will compete in Rio De Janeiro next month, at the first Olympic Games to ever be held in South America. Cool, right? In case you haven’t noticed, I’m excited! These athletes are my HEROES. 

In the past few weeks, I’ve blogged about different aspects of the Olympics (because that’s pretty much all I can think about lately!) including culture, sports, and food. This week, I thought it would be fun to have a little Olympic-athlete quiz—you know, in case you’re missing being in school. (Ha!)

Can you guess who these athletes are by using the clue provided? (Answers at the bottom of the post…no cheating!) Hint: Answers can also be found by perusing the Rio 2016 official website in the sports trivia section. Ready?

  1. This amazing French athlete holds the most golds in singles slalom canoeing. He was the Olympic champion in slalom at the Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, and London 2012 Games!
  2. At the London 2012 Games, this Jamaican athlete (and one of my idols) became the first man to successfully defend both the 100m and 200m Olympic titles.
  3. At the Atlanta 1996 Games, this Danish player became the first and only non-Asian player to ever win a badminton gold medal. 
  4. This swimmer is considered the most successful Olympian of all time, landing 22 medals to date, including 18 gold.  
  5. These tennis-loving sisters are the only players to have won four medals—and all of them are gold. 
  6. With a gold, a silver, and two bronzes, this Italian athlete is the most decorated female Olympic sailor of all time.
  7. This Brazilian Olympic footballer is the leading goal scorer in the history of women’s Olympic football competition—five at Athens 2004, five at Beijing 2008, and two at London 2012.
  8. This Taekwondo master won Afghanistan’s first ever Olympic medal by taking bronze at Beijing 2008. 
  9. The “Star Trek” serve was coined after this Brazilian volleyball player who launched the ball so high it almost touched the ceiling. 
  10. This Canadian athlete is the only triathlete to win two Olympic medals — gold at Sydney 2000 and silver at Beijing 2008.
How many did you get right? 

I’m gearing up for a couple of summer festivals and events in the Edmonton and surrounding area. But I’m also taking some time this weekend to catch up on some reading, hang out at my grandparent’s farm (the canola is blooming now and it’s SO beautiful!), and maybe try writing. What are YOU doing?

Gotta jet!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Quiz Answers:
  1. Tony Estanguet
  2. Usain Bolt
  3. Poul-Erik Hoyer
  4. Michael Phelps
  5. Venus and Serena Williams
  6. Allessandra Sensing
  7. Cristiane Roziera 
  8. Rohullah Nikpai
  9. Natresha Bernard 
  10. Simon Whitfield

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Countdown to the Olympics: CULTURE

My parents always taught me that it’s rude to burp at the dinner table—but did you know that in China, it’s not only socially acceptable, it’s considered an indication that the meal was good? I find that SO interesting!

So of course, curiosity got the best of me, and I started thinking about a BIG dinner with athletes from all of the countries participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics next month. Can you IMAGINE all of the cultural differences coming together at THAT table?!

For instance, athletes from Denmark may be disappointed when the meal is cut…short. There, dinners take anywhere from four to six hours! On the flip side, North American competitors may be hoping to dine and dash—perhaps before the Ecuador team even shows up. Punctuality is so important in countries like Japan, but Ecuadoreans prefer to arrive at least twenty minutes after the meal has started. With luck, there will be some food remaining! (There wouldn’t be at my house, that’s for sure…)

Regardless of what’s on the menu, though, athletes from Chile will always use utensils—it’s considered rude to eat with your hands, even if you’re gobbling down a taco. But in China? The messier (and louder) the better. In fact, in many parts of Asia, the traditional way to eat noodle soup is to slurp it. (If I did that, I’d be sentenced to dish duty for a week…)

People from Britain may end their meal with a cup of tea—spoon resting on the plate after stirring and never touched again—but don’t expect the Italians to “cap” off their dinner with a cappuccino: that’s a treat reserved for breakfast. Who knew?

Living in Canada, I see cultural differences ALL of the time, and that fact was certainly reinforced at the Calgary Stampede this year! Have you gone? If not, there’s still time. Don’t forget to visit the Alberta Canola Producers Commission booth for great information and cool giveaways!

Gotta jet!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 8 July 2016

Countdown to the Olympics: SPORTS!

Everyone knows I LOVE to learn stuff—especially if it means I’m busting myths. (Not sure what I mean? Check out my A-Z Challenge posts from this year!)

Learning about Ancient Greece and the first Olympics in school was fascinating, but you know what’s even MORE interesting about the games? Researching the 28 sports events! I’ve learned a lot—so, I thought I’d have some fun today and challenge you to a game of Two Truths & A Lie—Olympic Edition. 

For each of the sports listed below, two of the facts are true. One of them is a lie. Can you guess which of the statements is false? (Spoiler alert: the answers are on the bottom of this post, but don’t cheat!) Okay, here goes!

1. In a form of football played in Ancient China, leather balls were filled with feathers and hair.
2. The very first game of football was played with a basketball.
3. Football became so violent in medieval England that it was banned for 300 years.

1. During the Roman Empire, boxers used gloves studded with metal, which often resulted in the death of a gladiator. (Yikes!)
2. Women’s boxing debuted at the London 2012 games and home favourite Nicola Adams won the first gold, becoming a star in Britain.
3. In boxing, medals are awarded in gold, silver and bronze, just like with other sports.

1. Equestrian is the only sport in which men and women compete on equal terms.
2. If you’re traveling to Brazil for the Olympics, you may share space on a plane with an Olympic horse.
3. Olympic horses work out on a treadmill and receive massages, physiotherapy, and acupuncture treatments.

1. USA swimmer Michael Phelps is the most successful Olympian of all time—he won 22 medals at Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, and London 2012, including a record number of golds: 18.
2. Equatorial Guinea’s Eric Moussambani learnt to swim just 6 months before the Sydney 2000 games.
3. Steady breathing is the key element of success in the 50m freestyle swim. 

Athletics (my sport!)
1. One of the first athletic events in Ancient times was the race in armour.
2. The least amount of medals are awarded in the athletic events.
3. The marathon is named after the 26-mile run by a Greek solider called Pheidippides.

So, how did you do? I hope you had fun sleuthing out the truth from the lies. What is the most interesting thing you learned from this Olympic-inspired quiz? 

~ Chase Superman Duffy 


LIE: #2. But, the very first game of basketball was played with a soccer ball.


LIE: #3. In boxing, there are two bronze medals—both semi-final losers receive one rather than fight for one.

LIE: #2. Top horses fly around the world on specially designed airplanes and have passports containing very detailed information, just like humans. 

LIE: #3. To reduce their times in 50m freestyle, most Olympic swimmers complete the event without taking a single breath. 

LIE: #2. More medals are awarded for athletes for athletics than any other Olympic sport—a total of 141, including 47 golds.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Countdown to the Olympics: FOOD!

Food is a big deal in my world. Not just because I like to eat (which is true), but because I’m always training for track and field—even during the off season. How else will I get as fast as SUPERMAN?
Food is also a big deal to the Olympic athletes competing at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next month.
You might think the menu would be set—protein, vegetables and fruit for all! But even the Ancient Greeks knew that the diet for optimum athleticism is different than when you’re just hanging out with friends. The “science of food” is complex, but did you know, it’s different for EVERY athlete?
With school officially out (yahoo!), I’m turning my attention to the Olympic countdown (and of course my summer bucket list) and I thought it might be fun to look at some of the favourite foods of Olympic athletes to see how they’ll adapt to unfamiliar cuisine—because it’s unlikely athletes aside from the Brazilian team will be ordering peas on their pizza (a popular topping in Brazil!), gulping down the traditional black bean stew, or indulging in any of these popular Brazilian dishes.
As I dish out some fun “foodie” facts, consider the bolded questions—can you figure out the answers?
Water is of course the most important part of any diet and the athletes will go through a considerable amount at the Olympics. But if you really want a shock, check out this article that demonstrates how much water is needed to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool. If the average glass of water is 250 mL, how many glasses would it take to fill the pool at Rio 2016?
While British diver Tom Daley is well-known for his daily afternoon milkshake (at 12:30 p.m.!) and daily breakfast of beans on toast, U.S. swimming phenomenon Natalie Coughlin is preparing for the Games with these foods. Jamaican runner Usain Bolt used to eat 20 chicken McNuggets before every competition! Which of the diets listed is the most balanced?
Speaking of Jamaica, athletes there are known to eat a lot of yams—they’re said to make you faster! Would the Jamaican team receive the same amount of nutrients if they ate sweet potatoes? How are they different?
Yep, some Olympic athletes make some questionable food choices—but perhaps the strangest of all is the pre-competition meal of 4-time Gold medal winner, U.S. tennis player, Serena Williams: She eats nothing. As in, zero. What would be YOUR Olympic pre-competition meal?
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting hungry!
Gotta jet, but I hope you had an “explosive” Canada Day—where did you watch the fireworks?
~ Chase Superman Duffy