Saturday, October 27, 2012

Lesson 191: Scary Stories

It's Four Days Until Halloween.....
Here are some SCARY STORIES for you.

Eloise is a self professed chicken. A lily-livered sap sucker through and through.  I don't like the feeling of being scared.  Some people get off on it.  Not me.  You won't find me at holding a ticket to Paranormal 4. 
Think of me as Don Knotts in the Ghost and Mr. Chicken.   

I'm a 'fraidy cat, and I certainly don't scare anyone myself.  Eloise is bubbly, blond, and dingy, and certainly does not have an imposing personality.  In fact, I can only think of one person in this world that I actually frighten the living $h!t out of.  I am sure this person is reading this blog.  You know who you are.  Can you guess who it is readers?  Consider that part of your thinking homework for this weekend.

The scariest movie I ever saw in a theater was with Tracy Southern back in the early 90's. It was this movie, Silence of the Lambs with Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins.  This picture still freaks me out.  

We watched it one night at the Eastway Twin Theaters.  After the show I could barely walk through the parking lot to my car.  The next day Southern and I were opening Pizza Hut where we both worked as waitresses through our college years.  After a sleepless night thinking of Hannibal the Cannibal Lecter eating someones liver with a side of fava beans, I wasn't quite thinking clearly.  Southern and I and one cook came in two hours before Pizza Hut opened to prepare the store for the lunch time crowd.  Apparently one of the freezers wasn't functioning correctly, so the manager had called for a local repair company to come and fix it.  A man in a work van pounded at the back door to let him in to "fix the equipment."  Eloise convinced Southern that this man had seen the movie and got some good ideas.  I convinced Southern that  he would have us stuffed into the back of his windowless van within minutes.  "He'll make purses out of our skin in no time!" I yelled.  Southern named him Buffalo Brian and we didn't let him in until the manager showed up.  We probably would both have gotten fired if they weren't so short staffed that day.  Eloise says it never hurts to be cautious and it is always nice to have a friend to share in your paranoia.

Another creepy movie is coming out soon--November 16th marks the release of the last of the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn Part 2.  In case you are coming late into the game like I am, here is a little background about the books and movies.

My students begged me to read Twilight years ago when the first book came out.  "PLEEEEEEEEEEEEASE, Mrs.Eloise!  It's so good!  You HAVE to read it!" they begged. 

 "I don't like scary stories," was my response.  

"But it's a LOVE story!" they cried.  "The vampires don't bite people; they only suck the blood of animals!  They even sparkle in the sunshine!" 

In an effort to continually connect with my students, I did attempt to read Twilight about five years ago.  I had to abandon my read midway through because I got creeped out while getting my newspaper in the dark early one morning.  I heard a stick snap and I convinced myself that the Cullens had a change of heart and decided to have me for breakfast.

My friends Tracy--both Northern and Southern are fans, but Southern takes the cake (red velvet, at that).  She's the biggest Twilight fan I know.  She had been bugging me to read the books for years and I stubbornly refused.  Feeling that our 35 year friendship would be jeopardized if I didn't read the books, I finally relented so I could share in her fun this fall.  I began my quest last March and read them all by the end of the summer.  Southern was happy.

I am trying to catch up on the movies.  Here is a shot of my homework for the last few weekends:

My girls and I have a date tomorrow in my living room at 1:00 for Eclipse.  We're almost caught up.  In case you are entering the blood sucking series late in the game, here is Eloise's brief recap:

The story stars these three, Jacob-- a werewolf, Bella-- a human, and Edward-- a vampire:

Bella gets caught in some sort of crazy love triangle with the hairy, hot one and and the chiseled, cold one.  But it is her first love, Edward the vampire, that she can never let go of.   Most of the series is about their love story.

The actor and actress are a couple in real life, too.  Unfortunately, they have hit some road bumps in their relationship recently.  As Scooby Doo would say:  Ruh-Row!  Chalk this up to incredibly bad timing.

I like reading the last sentences of every series.  They are very telling.  These are the last sentences of the Twilight saga:

"'Forever and forever and forever,' he murmured.
'That sounds about right to me.'
And then we continued blissfully into this small but perfect piece of our forever."

Eloise likes how it ended.  I like the word forever.  It means you hold on to something for all time.  Good girl, Bella.  Hold on and don't let go.

Southern has been anticipating this movie for over a year.  I noticed she's been pinning all kinds of Twilight Party ideas, so she must be planning a bash.  Too bad she lives in South Carolina, or I'd be there drinking fake blood out of wine glasses with her, too.

Heck, I did the same thing when LOST ended.  My mother and I had a bash in my living room for the last episode.  I paid far too much in booze for the night--I bought all those little bottles like they give you on the airlines.  We alternated shots out of them as the last episode progressed.  I'm still not over it.  Eloise has a very tough time getting over things she loves.  I'm still not over him it:

Okay, Jack, I mean.  If you ever get stranded on an island, align yourself with the doctor.  LOST ended May 23, 2010 and I've never found anything to replace it.  You just can't replace something you are in love with.

Lots of people have been asking me if I'm watching this show, in hopes that it would fill the void of my LOST loss.  The show is REVOLUTION. 

Eloise gives it a "pretty good" so far.  It's is created by J.J. Abrams who co-created LOST.  In the most modern of terms I would describe REVOLUTION as LOST meets HUNGER GAMES.  

The main character is Charlotte "Charlie".  She is a Katniss like girl who is a tough survivor.

She is trying to make her way through a post apocalyptic world after the "blackout." According to the series thus far, an "unknown phenomena" has caused a world wide blackout.  The world no longer has electrical power or the use of any item that runs on a battery.  Violence and unrest erupts.  Militias form.  The United States as we know it no longer exists and our map looks like this:

I'd be more into the TV series if I didn't already have some idea where it was headed.  I do believe it is modeling the SCARIEST STORY I EVER READ IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.  This book:

I am not kidding you in any way.  If you want to read a truly scary story this Halloween season, go pick this one up.  It's available now in soft cover, or you can download it on your Kindle for ten bucks.  Just the Foreword by Newt Gingrich is compelling enough to make you want to read more.  The Afterword by US Naval Captain Bill Sanders will make your hair stand on end.  The book is about a real and imminent threat to the United States, and EMP.

The EMP is an electromagnetic pulse that is released from a nuclear weapon, a by product of sorts.  If a nuclear weapon is detonated high into the earth's atmosphere, the waves that radiate from it would be similar to a lightning bolt striking an electrical line during a thunderstorm.  This weaponry would have the potential to fry the entire electrical grid of the United States.  All data would be wiped out, along with all electricity.   The book describes it as the pebble that triggers the avalanche.  The technical name for it is called The Compton Effect.  

Look that up for yourself, as well as the Congressional Report on it.  It was released the same day as the 9-11 Report, therefore it didn't get as much attention as it should have.  You can find more information on the EMP and the Compton Effect at this website:  You can view the Congressional Report there, as well as see a video clip of Newt Gingrich's interview.    

It's late at night as I write this, and now this post has got Eloise thinking about Hannibal Lecter and EMP strikes against the US. Time to move onto other things or I am never going to get to sleep tonight.  Also a good time for a beer.  (Hang on, I'll be right back.)

Hiss.  (Cap removed).  Clink.  (Bottle cap dropped into drawer of caps I save for Mikey, Southern's son who collects them).

This is what I am drinking tonight.  I took a break from the traditional Friday night Rolling Rock for a change:

Eloise is having one of these, Under Dog by Flying Dog beers.

The brewery has a very cool history.  Check out their website at Consider that another part of  your weekend homework and you get bonus points if you purchase a six pack.

I love the logo: 

I also like the wording on the side of the label:

Eloise loves this.  Who wants to be a pawn?  Looks like the time has come for me to be a Queen.

I bought the beer because my Huskies are finishing up a rather rough football season tonight.  We were always the under dogs this year.  PSU plays OSU in what some are calling The Sanction Bowl.  PSU is considered the one point under dog. Just like the label reads, we're pulling for you here at the Lamp Post, Blue & White.

Onto some other scary stories of the week: My pond overflowed.  Josie (my dog and definitely not the under dog) and I  visit this place frequently.  It's my thinking spot.  It is in walking distance from the Lamp Post.   I snapped this picture on Wednesday.  I love how the trees reflect in the water in the fall.

Something went wrong with the drainage and I saw Township trucks there all week trying to fix the problem.

They had to call in some heavy equipment:
(Eloise is fascinated with machinery)

They had to dig a very large trench:

And replace the drain tubes:

I checked on my calm waters tonight and she'll be all pretty again by tomorrow.  Eloise is relieved.  That is my spot of divine inspiration.  I am drawn to its waters and I get the best inspirations for writing when I am next to it.

If my favorite pond was messed up, I'd surely have to visit the winery across the street from my house.
This is 6 Mile Cellars:

The winery is in the cellar of an old, historic barn.  
Bart and his lovely wife Jen are the owners.  I used to babysit Bart, therefore I claim to have had a hand in his success.

It is my town's very first winery!

They have this nice little guest book when you enter the lobby.  Look who signed it!

Sam tried to put them out of business this summer with his lemonade stand, but 6 Mile Cellars held strong.  I think they'll be around for awhile.  

Eloise sees all kinds of things going on over there on weekends.  For example, this school bus/camper unloaded a bunch of merry wine tasters the other day.  

Here's a scary one---look what bus was in the parking lot last weekend!

What's even scarier is the bus number.  Can you make it out?

But even scarier yet-----
I was watching from my front porch swing as this party bus pulled in last Saturday.

It was a nice one from Erie Limousine.  I had to grab my camera and snap of picture of who was on it.  "Come on kids," Eloise yelled, "let's see who gets off the Party Bus at the winery."

We gathered in our front yard, certain to see an Erie debutante......

....and out steps my mother and her friends.

"Is that Grandma?" asked Sam.



She's the one on the right.  Scary, but she looks pretty darn good for 67, huh?   Must be all the antioxidants in the wine.  Guess I'll have to try once again to like it and get past the headache.  

Hope I had you shivering in your shoes with my tales of terror.  To get your mind off of it all, check out the video of the pictures from the week.  It is set to the new one from Adele, Skyfall.

The sky isn't really falling yet, Chicken Little.  But if you read One Second After as per my suggestion, you may want to find yourself a piece of flint and learn how to use it.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Lesson 190: My Fighting Scot

There's my E, Readers!
Isn't she pretty?

Just as I have nicknames for everyone, some of my Readers have nicknames for me.  Bonnie, an Ohio follower calls me E-Lo because of my hair resemblance (and hind end, too), to Jennifer Lopez.  Another follower calls me El,  which she justifies in several ways:
  • short for Eloise, 
  • my real first name also has these first two letters
  • my first name and last name initials are both E and L  

Northern even found this shirt at the Chicago Marathon last weekend.  If the shirt was really dedicated to me, it would say SLOW on the other sleeve.

I gave my students an assignment this week to make a monogram of their initials, as we are studying Dr. Seuss's book On Beyond Zebra which is filled with monograms.  Slovenians, monograms are two letters put together to form one symbol.  Here are some famous ones from the United States:

Who cares what they say about the French?  We Americans like our fashion, too.

A good teacher always does her own homework.  I am going to turn this in to my students on Monday.  This is what I am using for monogram.

It's not mine though.  I swiped it.  I'm a thief.  The beautiful E-L combination belongs to:
This is where Eloise received earned her college education.  (I left my edit in there for my student readers).  A college education is not "given."  It is something that is obtained through hard work, focus, and discipline.  A double four year degree with top honors can be earned in a forty-six month span, with no summers, and no "extra semesters."  

I know this because I did it. I not only emerged from my plaid Alma mater a more mature and experienced person, but also debt free.   To this I credit TEAMWORK.  My parents and I worked together to get me through.  That meant some sacrifice on all of our parts.  I do not owe a bank any money, but I do owe my parents a huge debt of gratitude for the help.  

I'd lie and say this was a picture that Tracy Southern snapped of me in our May 1992 graduation, but you'd know that wasn't my hair.

I was out to the University a couple of weeks ago for a teacher conference.  The ride out was beautiful in October.  I followed this beer truck down to the college the entire way.

It also reminded me of my other claim to fame. Eloise went the entire four years without setting foot in one single Edinboro bar.  Parties, yes, I did some of those.  But bars, no.  Eloise does not like crowds.  Eloise does not like overpriced beer.  Eloise does not like crowds of drunk boys paying too much for overpriced beer.  Therefore, Eloise did not belly up to the college bar scene.

During my lunch break at the teacher conference, I decided to go off on my own and take a walk down memory lane through the campus.  I found a nice place to park, just for me:

A look a little further down the sign and you know in an instant it belongs in Edinboro.  We get lots of snow, Slovenians!

Since the sign told me to park there, I illegally did and found my old dorm where I lived with Tracy Southern.  

I never noticed before, but there is a lamp post right below our third floor window!

The lamp posts are all over the campus.  I never noticed them before, and I half wonder if they are new since '92. 

I walked around the campus lake and found the spot where the students must have celebrated The Highland Festival.  I was there on a Monday so there were bits of weekend debris still scattered around.  I found this sign and helped myself to it.  I told you I was a thief.  It's in my garage now if any of you weekend Clansmen want it back. Come and get it.

They hold the Highland Festival out in Edinboro every year.  You can find bag pipers,

and cute guys wearing skirts.  I have a thing for them, I guess.

Edinboro University's mascot is the Fighting Scot, a rough looking Scotsman donning a kilt.  Looks like he's fighting for me.  My initial is on his shield.

This Scotsman is kind of moody and mean like those of Scottish heritage are known to be.  After all, look at this famous Scotsman from history.

This is actor Mel Gibson portraying Scottish warrior William Wallace in the 1995 film Braveheart.

Wallace leaves Scotland for a little while to become educated and when he returns he finds his childhood sweetheart.  I love this picture, but I have to spoil your love story.  It doesn't end well.

William Wallace gets pi$$ed off and begins his assault on Lonshanks to win back Scotland's independence.

Again, I hate to spoil the movie, but it doesn't end well for Wallace.  He got caught by the English and was beheaded.  The stubborn Scotsman that he was, refused to beg for mercy.  His last word before the ax fell was  __________________________?  (Slovenians, ax and axe are both considered correct spellings for the sharp cutting tool in mention).

**NOTE:  This is your homework readers.  The long blank should remind you of your fill-in-the-blank history tests in high school.  Stop screaming at the memory and use Mr. Google to look up the answer.  It will appear at the bottom of today's post, right above the video.  Happy thinking.

The main destination of my walk was to see this Scotsman.  He is crouched outside of the Student Union.  

In case you are a grad and haven't made time to stop to pay homage, here is a little further information.

I really like the face. The wavy hair, piercing eyes, and beard kind of remind me of Braveheart.

Because I am a teacher and always like to follow the rules, I took a picture of this sign......

....and then forgot about it.

If I hadn't had a memory lapse, I would not have been able to bring you these interesting shots.

His cool shoe, 

his big bicep,

(couldn't help but think he needed one of these.....)

the back end of his shield (betcha there's an E on the other side),

and a few of his back end!

I just had to see what kind of undies a fighting Scotsman wore.  

The panties were weird, but I did admire the strong thigh.

**NOTE:  When I returned to my conference, a gentleman from a neighboring school district tapped my shoulder and said, "Excuse me, but did I just see you crawling underneath the statue with your camera?"

"Yes, that was me," I said blushing.

"What school district do you work for?" he asked.

"North East," I replied.  (I thought he said DID).

The project was funded in part by some memorial bricks.  I took some pictures of a few.  
Some were simple:

others a bit more wordy, 

Someone forked out enough money for a whole bench.  Karen and Chuck must have met there.  I hope they are still together, because that would completely suck if they weren't.  It's not like you could tape over that one.  Is anyone else wondering about the significance of the number 13?  Eloise is.

This one gave me the heebeegeebees.  I was there too--Yikes!

The day was a good one.  Eloise learned new things and thought about the future.  I also took some time to revisit the past.  On the way home I followed a pop truck this time---all the way to my exit.  

The girls will be happy because Coke is what they like to drink on weekends.

My sister Kenyan won't be drinking Coke this weekend though. She's going international with her running.  Kenyan and her running partner Robb are competing in the Niagara Falls International Half Marathon on Sunday.  I bought her this gift for her send off.

I had one with her on Friday night.  It was good, but Rolling Rock is better.

Kick some asphalt, Kenyan, but remember diplomacy.  We have to stay on good terms with the neighbors to the north.  Mom and Dad's cottage is only 26 miles away.  We'd be the first targets if things go bad.

And speaking of kicking @$$phalt---Sam lost his front teeth this week!

One came out in school on Thursday,

He got a tooth necklace from the nurse.  

I hope it was not a sign of things to come---Sam was wearing his Everlast boxing t-shirt.  He got blood all over it.  Heck, maybe he'll go to Edinboro and participate in the Highland Festival someday.

Sam remembered the tooth fairy would come with money in exchange for his tooth.  So, he did what any child obsessed with money would do---tried and tried to knock out the other one.


Eloise is hoping the space holds through Christmas.  I love it when toothless school children sing All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.  

Eloise ends this post happy, reminded of the wordy quote chipped into a granite block at the base of my Fighting Scot.  

"The supreme happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved--
loved for ourselves,
or rather,
loved in spite of ourselves."

--Victor Hugo

I hope the Scotsman knows the two things most worth fighting for in life.  William Wallace did.  One was LOVE.  The other one is the answer to your weekend homework---FREEDOM!

Enjoy the video.  The photos are set to a beautiful bagpipe version of my favorite song--Amazing Grace.
Have an amazing weekend,