Friday, March 16, 2012

He Heard Footsteps Coming Up the Cellar Stairs...

A while ago my lovely friend Chelle wrote a blog (Which you can read here. She’s much funnier than I am so you should probably go read all her things if you want to be awesome.) about the book series Goosebumps, and it got me all nostalgic, and thinking about another series of books I read very frequently as a kid.
I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the book Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz, but I LOVED it when I was about seven or eight. Every week, my class would go to the library, and for weeks, I would check out this book. One week, the librarian persuaded me to try a different book, so I went and got More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark also by Alvin Schwartz. Eventually, the library got Scary Stories: More Tales to Chill your Bones, and my tiny life was complete. I checked those three books out in a rotation for the rest of the year, except for the one time the librarian made me pick something else, and I checked out Sixty Fingers, Sixty Toes: See How the Dilley Sextuplets Grow! Because I was a strange child and also, the pictures of Becki Dilley pregnant fascinated and horrified me.
This isn't her, but really, am I the only one who can't tear my eyes away?

Anyway, looking back on it, I really understand my librarian’s point of view. I’m also starting understand why windows and mirrors make me skittish at night, and why I’m reluctant to go anywhere in the dark. You see, this is what the cover of those books look like:
He just wants a hug, really.
Even now, select pictures from this book freak me out. Some are funny, in a eerie sort of way, such as this one, that is connected to a story about a kid who brings a big toe home to his mother and she cooks it up and they eat it. Then, that night the boy is trying to go to sleep and he hears a voice calling out, asking for its toe. He finds a strange creature in his chimney, and when he asks it why it has such sharp teeth, the creature responds, "TO CHOMP YOUR BONES!" 
"Seems legit."

Then though, there are pictures that are truly a little disturbing, especially for a seven year old.
Top right is called Harold. No, seriously.
I recently got a hold of a copy of one of these books, and rereading it, the stories really aren't that bad, for the most part. I mean, a seven year old could easily read the majority of the stories and not be too terrified, which leads me to wonder who the hell was in charge of the art selection? Whoever they were, they are responsible for the majority of my nightmares as well.

I said that the majority of stories were child appropriate, but in the first book, the section called "Other Dangers" scares me even now. This is the section that contains urban legend type stories, and more modern types of dangers. For example, the story, "High Beams," is a about a girl who is driving home on a lonely road, and notices a car following her, that keeps turning on its brights and flashing them at her. She gets more and more afraid as she drives home, until she pulls into her driveway only to find that the man following her is there too and that his attention is fixed on her backseat. He shows her a man with a knife huddled behind the driver's seat, and says that as he was driving behind her, he saw the knife man reach up to kill her, and every time he saw that, he would turn on his high beams, so that the man would hide back behind the seat. 
Holy shit you guys. I've always wondered why I get so creeped out by my backseat at night while I'm driving home, and in fact, I even look back there before I ever get in the car. The only explanation is that my brain was traumatized by this book.

You guys should go read these stories, and report back to me and tell me what you thought. They're awesome.
Why yes, those are spiders crawling out of her face. Happy Nightmares!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

She'll Be Right, Mate

I’m back, like I promised. I really didn’t expect to follow through with my promise, but surprisingly, I found some free time, and luckily, someone mentioned something about a blog, which made me remember my blog. So here we are. I said that I would tell you all about how I moved to Australia for six months, pretty much on a whim, so I guess I should do that.

It all started when a friend of mine mentioned that she had applied to study in France for a year. That sounded pretty interesting to me, so out of idle curiosity one night in March, I decided to look at what my school had in the way of transfer programs. As I was looking, I found one program that had an application deadline of that night, so after giving it about ten minutes of thought and research, I decided to apply, which was fun explaining to my family, let me tell you.  About a month later, after filling out more paperwork and sending specific universities some details through the program, I was told I was selected to study at Edith Cowan University in Perth, West Australia. That sounded just dandy to me, but I only had about a month and a half to convince a bank to give me money, sort out travel details, and all the other things that people have to do when they decide to up and move to another country. It was a stressful, tearful, eventful month and a half, but I finally accomplished all that I needed to and hopped on a plane full of screaming children on July 10th.

The first week was spent in Cairns, for an orientation week, with all the other kids from the U.S. that were part of this program. I got to do a lot of stereotypical things that people do when they go to Australia, and get it out of my system before I had to settle in at my dorm in Perth.
Here’s a photo montage of stuff I did:

I totally met a guy there too.

 He’s pretty swell. He’s coming to visit in 3 months, so I guess I better start preparing him for the gluttony and supercrime he’s likely to encounter in the US.
And that’s really all. I went to school, and hung out with my boyfriend, and just generally enjoyed the loveliness that is Australia.

Be back soon hopefully!