Friday, 28 September 2018

Countdown to Halloween Starts Monday!

This is it—the LAST weekend in September. And you know what THAT means? Monday kicks off my countdown to the freakiest holiday of the year—HALLOWEEN!

That's right—starting Monday, I'll be posting every day until October 31, when I'll reveal this year's Halloween costume. Throughout the month, you can expect to find trivia, craft ideas, baking tips, superstition lore, and SO. MUCH. MORE. It's going to be spooktacular! (Seriously!)

Not sure how to carve your jack-o-lantern? I'll have some ideas for that. Looking for a haunting field trip? I'll share some fun Alberta events that will immerse you in the season. Spooky writing prompts? Gotcha covered! Something new every day. I promise.

Seriously, you should just bookmark this page. Tell your teacher. Tell your friends. Tell your parents. This month is going to be bonkers fun and you won't want to miss out.

Plus, every day I'll be giving you a chance to WIN a copy of the most creeptastic book in the Superman Duffy collection of educational graphic novels, BENEATH THE SOIL. I can hardly wait to get started.

Gotta jet, but I'll see you Monday. This October, the countdown to Halloween!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 21 September 2018

Snow? Pretty, But Not Necessarily A Good Thing

I don't know where you are in the province, but when I looked out my window this morning, I blinked twice—and it was still there: snow. And not just a "skiff" of it either. A semi-thick blanket covering my yard, my mom's car, and the leaves I was supposed to rake this weekend. (Looks like I'll be shovelling instead!)

Even having lived in Alberta my entire life—where the weather can change two or three times in a day!—the sight was a bit shocking.

So much snow this early in the year means that I'll be taking my running program INSIDE. The roads, for driving, are going to be messy. And...

This weather is not good for farmers.

Grandpa says early snowfall can squash crops that grow upright, like wheat and canola, making them harder to harvest, not to mention diminishing their quality. The snow pushes the crops down and freezes the plants that aren't even finished growing. Sure it looks pretty, but it's definitely not ideal for our province's producers.

It seems like only yesterday the province was a patchwork quilt of yellow canola fields—today, we're under a blanket of snow. And while it isn't the first time this fall that we've seen it, this stuff looks like it's here to stay.

Here's hoping I'm wrong.

Gotta jet! Be safe out there—Mom says people forget how to drive at the first sign of winter...

~ Chase Superman Duffy

P.S. Speaking of driving, if you're in the Lethbridge area, be sure to check out the Word On The Street event — the author of the Superman Duffy educational graphic novels will be there (along with other great authors, artists, and performers) signing her young adult books Lizzie, Overdrive, and Anne & Henry! 

Friday, 14 September 2018

Aye, Talk Like A Pirate Day Is Upon Us, Lads And Lassies

Ahoy! I love pirates.

They're the swashbuckling villains and heroes of so many great stories—like Wesley in The Princess Bride and the famous female pirate Anne Bonny who we JUST learned about in school. There's Blackbeard—he's scary!—and of course, there's me. Well, "comic me."

The Superman Duffy educational graphic novel SHIVER ME TIMBERS is ALL about pirates—and in the story, I am protecting my gold  (canola gold, of course) from one BAD pirate as I deliver it to foreign markets. It's an adventure story PERFECT for Talk Like A Pirate Day—which is September 19! If you don't have a copy of SHIVER ME TIMBERS, be sure to order your copy from the Alberta Canola Producers' Commission today!

And in honour of Talk Like a Pirate Day, I thought I'd share some common pirate phrases, just in case you want to join in on the fun. Here are my top 15 pirate sayings:

Ahoy: Hello!
Aye: Yes, yes! As in, "Aye, aye, Captain!"
Booty: A pirate's prize of any kind.Cap'n: Captain.
Doubloon: A gold coin, originally of Spanish origin but used as a general term for gold coins.
Fer: For. As in, "Superman Duffy, fer the win!"
Hearties: Friends. As in, "Ahoy me hearties!"
Jolly Rager: The infamous skull and crossbones flag, which was flown to warn "here there be pirates."
Kraken: A legendary sea monster.
Land lubber: A person who does not have much experience at seas or who cannot sail.
Lass or lassie: A child.
Mutiny: To revolt.
Sea Dog: A pirate, especially an experienced older one.
Skull and Crossbones: A human skull above two crossed bones, used on pirate flags and bottles of poison.
Swashbuckler: A daredevil.
Walk the plank: Walking the ship's plank until you plunged into the sea.

Did I miss some of your favourites? Share yours in the comments—before Sept 19!—and join me in "talking like a pirate."

PLUS, we may select one lucky commenter for a chance to WIN a Superman Duffy booty — all 16 of the books in the series! Now THAT is a great prize pack, lads and lassies.

Gotta jet, me hearties. Have a great weekend!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 7 September 2018

Let's CUT! To The Chase...

Someone famous once said, "there are no original stories." Every tale is just a version of one of a handful that has been told time and time again.

That sounds deep, I know, but in school this week, we've been talking about re-tellings, fables, and specifically, Aesop's Fables, and it got me thinking about the Superman Duffy graphic novel, CUT! TO THE CHASE...

The book is a modern version of the famous Aesop story, The Tortoise and the Hare. Even if you're not learning about it in school, you probably know the story—a slow turtle, a fast rabbit, and a race that ends with an unexpected lesson.

The lesson in the Superman Duffy book is centred on nutrition, but of course there's a great story around it—in which "comic me" gets to flex his school theatre muscles. If you've read the book, you know who ends up being the tortoise (hint: it's either me or my nemesis Gordon Lightning Smith). And if you haven't read it, you can order CUT! TO THE CHASE... (and the entire set of Superman Duffy educational graphic novels) from the Alberta Canola Producers' Commission.

By the way, did you know that quite a few of the expressions we use everyday are inspired by Aesop's fables? “Slow and steady wins the race” is obviously from The Tortoise and the Hare. But, did you know that “Honesty is the best policy” is from Aesop’s tale Mercury and the Woodsman or that “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill” is from the story, The Mountain in Labor?

My mom always tells me not to “count my chickens before they hatch” — she probably doesn’t even realize that expression comes from Aesop’s fable, The Milkmaid and her Pail. And sometimes, I forget to “look before you leap” which is, you guessed it, another expression from an Aesop story, The Fox and the Goat.

“Birds of a feather flock together” comes from the Farmer and the Stork and to have “sour grapes” was first used in Aesop’s tale, The Fox and the Grapes. Who knew?

Wow. Aesop really did write a lot about animals! I guess it comes down to “quality, not quantity” — <grin> see what I did there? That saying is from Aesop’s tale, The Lioness and the Vixen.

Gotta jet! Hope your first week at school was fantastic!

— Chase Superman Duffy