I Think I Have Found a Means of Conveyance…An Elephant: Around the World in 80 Days

Day 5) E is for Elephant: Choose a book with a Elephant on the cover

Aroundtheworldin80Days

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

So I choose Around the World in 80 Days as my “elephant” choice. You may feel as if this has barely any elephant, but I just choose this book cover because I really liked it. This is the cover my copy has.

This book was one of my favorites as a kid and my gateway drug into Jules Verne. I used to read The Great Illustrated Classic version of this again and again until I read the real version.

Or 10th, 50th, 100th....

Or 10th, 50th, 100th….

This idea of traveling the globe in a relatively short amount of time was very new and modern. It only came about because of three technological breakthroughs: the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in America (1869), the linking of the Indian railways across the sub-continent (1870), and the opening of the Suez Canal (1869). This marked the end of the age of exploration as global tourism became the new age. The world had grown much smaller.

LeavehertoHeavenReading

In fact after this book was published it inspired quite a few people to try this journey around the world themselves.

  • In 1889, newspaperwoman Nellie Bly undertook to travel around the world in 80 days. She managed to do the journey within 72 days, meeting Verne in Amiens. Her book Around the World in Seventy-Two Days, became a best seller.
  • In 1903, James Willis Sayre, a Seattle theatre critic and arts promoter, set the world record for circling the earth using public transport, 54 days, 9 hours, and 42 minutes.
  • In 1908, Harry Bensley, on a wager, set out to circumnavigate the world on foot wearing an iron mask. The journey was abandoned, incomplete, at the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
  • In 1984, Nicholas Coleridge emulated Fogg’s trip, taking 78 days. He wrote a book entitled Around the World in 78 Days.
  • In 1988, Monty Python alumnus Michael Palin took a similar challenge without using aircraft as a part of a television travelogue, called Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days. He completed the journey in 79 days and 7 hours.
  • Since 1993, the Jules Verne Trophy is given to the boat that sails around the world without stopping and with no outside assistance, in the shortest time.
  • In 2009, twelve celebrities performed a relay version of the journey for the BBC Children In Need charity appeal.

In fact it is one of my dreams to recreate the trip in the book.

childreadingabkkid impression identity a part of us You've got mail meg ryan

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So Phileas Fogg is a wealthy Londoner who keeps to himself most of the time. There is not a lot known about him or his private life other than he is focused, exact, and methodical.

“Phileas Fogg was, indeed exactitude personified…He was so exact he was never in a hurry, was always ready, and economical alike of his steps and his motions. He never took one step too many, and always went to his destination by the shortest cut; he made no superfluous gestures, and was never seen to be moved or agitated.” pg. 6.

He also is very good-looking.

“He appeared to be a man about forty years of age, with fine, handsome features, and a tall, well-shaped figure. His hair and whiskers were light, his forehead compact and unwrinkled, his face rather pale and his teeth magnificent.” pg. 6

see cute guy look

The book begins with a young french man, Passepartout, coming into the service of Fogg. He left his last employer as when he tried to talk to him about his drinking as he was rudely treated.

Jerk

In fact Fogg is described as in many ways being like a machine, so down to the minute he is.

“Everything was regulated and foreseen that was to be done from half-past eleven AM till midnight, the hour at which the methodical gentleman retired.” pg. 8

That evening Phileas is at his men’s club when they are discussing a bank robbery that has recently occurred. The men began discussing where the thief could flee to, some saying the world is too small while others too big. Phileas says that the world has become small and that one could travel the world in 80 days.

From London to Suez via Mont Cenis and Brindisi, by rail and steamboats……………7 days

From Suez to Bombay, by steamer……………………………………………………………………..13 days

From Bombay to Calcutta, by rail………………………………………………………………………..3 days

From Calcutta to Hong Kong, by steamer……………………………………………………………13 days

From Hong Kong to Yokohama (Japan), by steamer……………………………………………..6 days

From Yokohama to San Francisco by steamer…………………………………………………….22 days

From San Francisco to New York, by rail……………………………………………………………..7 days

From New York to London, by steamer & rail……………………………………………………….9 days

The men talk about with one exclaiming that Phileas is crazy, unforeseen circumstances would toss things out of whack. Phileas insists that he  could do it in 80 days and bets £20,000 (that would be £2,040,000.00 or $4,080,000.00 today.)

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

The bet is on, with Phileas planning on being back by December 21st, at 8:45 pm.

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Phileas immediately sets off on the trip; packing what is needed and planning on purchasing whatever else he needs along the way. The only one coming with him is his new valet, Passepartout.

As soon as he departs his bet is thrown all over the newspapers. People betting on whether or not he will make it back in time.

igotstoknow

Unfortunately for Fogg, his mysterious “foggy” history causes him to become suspect number one as to the bank robbers.

Not good

Not good

Detective Fix is set out after him, to bring him back as soon as possible. This will not work well for Fogg as even the slightest delay will cause serious misfortune.

Fix manages to luck into finding Fogg when Passepartout asks him for aid to see the consulate. Like today how they aren’t always required to stamp your passport in certain ports; Fogg of course is insisting as he needs proof he travelled to those destinations.

Left London, Wednesday, October 2nd, at 8:45 pm

Reached Paris, Thursday, October 3rd, at 7:20 am

Left Paris, Thursday, at 8:40 am

Reached Turin by Mont Cenis, Friday October 4th, at 6:35 am

Left Turin, Friday, at 7:20 am

Arrived at Brindisi, Saturday October 5th, at 4 pm

Sailed on the Mongolia, Saturday, at 5 pm

Reached Suez, Wednesday, October 9th, at 11 am

Total of hours spent, 158 1/2; or in days, six days and a half.

As Phileas only cares about the bet, he never takes the time to look at the places he is passing through, instead staying in his room.

I_don't_care

So Fix is trying to get more information as to whether or not Phileas is the robber. He cozies up to Passepartout, asking him lots of questions about Phileas. But with every answer, he becomes more satisfied that it must be him.

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Fix also makes a key observation, Passepartout has forgotten to reset his watch to the time of the place they are in, instead having it still in London time.

As Fix is out to get his man, he too is caught up in this race around the world.

When they reach Bombay, Passepartout is set with the charge to purchase new shirts and such for the two of them. Unfortunately, Passepartout doesn’t always pay as close attention to where he is going, distracted by the architecture, and trips, stepping on a sacred floor without removing his shoes.

clueless mybad oops

Now why is that a problem? Well in the Hindu religion it is a requirement to do so. These priests actually end up beating Passepartout.

When Passepartout tells Phileas what happened, as he lost his purchases, Fix overhears them and comes up with the perfect “fix” to get his man.

Yes you may have noticed that I have made two puns about the names of the characters.

Couldn't resist

Couldn’t resist

Yes, one thing I like about Verne, is that his names always mean something. It can be something that obscures the situation, is a puzzle, or causes confusion. This works great for Phileas’ character as not much is known about him, he is too obscure or a puzzle. And in an essence he lives in a “fog”, not connecting with others but keeping to himself, his books, and his routine.

With Detective Fix, he is trying to remedy or fix the situation in catching the bank robbers and returning the money. He also creates a “fix” for Fogg as his constant interference causes issues for the adventurer. In fact you could even say he is trying to “fix” the situation, as he wants to bring Phileas back to London, ensuring that he loses the bet. Fascinating, huh.

Wow

Wow

So as Fogg and Passepartout continue on their way they meet Sir Francis, returning to his corps. He too finds Fogg odd as he has never met anyone so efficient or a “product of exact sciences”. He warns Fogg that their might be trouble with Passepartout having broken the law. It was an incredible offense.

Not good

Not good

As they are continuing through India on the train, it suddenly stops in Kholby, It turns out that the railroad is unfinished and they will have to find their own way to Allahabad. Sir Francis is in a lather, but Fogg calms him down and convinces him that he has extra days. Sir Francis joins their group as he sets out to find transportation for them and plans to continue on with them.

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He finds, of course the reason why this book fills the E category, an elephant. There is only one problem, elephants are expensive and becoming scarce in India. Fogg needs it to when and offers £20 to rent it, £40, £1200, £1500, and ends on £2000 to buy it (That would be £204,000.00 or $408,000.00 today)

ouch Hermione

They then hire a guide and head out.

Everything goes smoothly until the elephant starts getting agitated. The guide investigates and sees a procession of Brahmins, or priests, coming towards them. He warns them to hide. They observe the group and see a beautiful women being lead behind the corpse of her husband, a prince.

They are doing a Suttee ritual, where the widow is burned alive as she has no other option in her life. She would have no food, her hair shaved off, treated poorly and considered unclean. Most of the time it was voluntary, as there was no other way, although a few would be killed unwillingly. Such as in this case. The guide reveals that this women did not wish to be sacrificed, so they drugged her with hemp and opium. They are taking her to the Pagoda of Pillaji where the ceremony will take place at dawn.

Not good

Not good

Now here we see one of the most interesting parts of the book:

“Mr. Fogg stopped him[the guide], and, turning to Sir Francis Cromarty, said, ‘Suppose we save this woman.’

‘Save the woman, Mr. Fogg!’

‘I have yet twelve hours to spare; I can devote them to that.”

keanu Whoa

This is so interesting because the whole book we are told Fogg is friendless because he is so exact, he is never emotionless, he is a clock, a machine; not human at all.

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But here we see him willing to take time out  of his bet and put his life on the line for this girl. I mean he has been forgoing everything to see in the countries he is passing through, the only thing he has his mind on is time how much spent and how much left; but here he sees this women and hears her story and it all goes out the window. Everything, for her.

How romantic

How romantic

So while it is honorable of Fogg to do this, his idea will not be easy. If they fail, they will have horrible tortures awaiting them. They decide to continue their plan, waiting until night to strike. While they are waiting, the guide tells them about the woman, Aouda. She was the daughter of a wealthy Bombay merchant and received an English education. When she was orphaned, she was married against her will to the old rajah Bundelcund. She escaped, but was retaken and forced by the Rajah’s relatives to complete the ceremony.

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Then we have a thrilling and suspenseful part of them trying to free her. They creep, watch, and are barely able to save her; taking off as they are being chased by the guards.

Run Away

As they board the train, Fogg pays the guide, but also gifts him the elephant for his service and loyalty in saving Aouda. He offers Aouda passage to Hong Kong as India will never be safe for her again.

When they reach Calcutta it is the 25th of October as he surmised. He has lost his two extra days, but does not regret it.

Truth be told I don't

They are to head over to the steamer for Hong Kong when a policeman arrests the men. Passepartout is ashamed and afraid, as it is his fault and he would hate for his master to lose his bet. Fogg has no fear as he is certain that they will be able to board the ship at noon.

Three Indian priests come in with a charge, and Fogg defends his decision to save Aouda. Unfortunately these are not those priests in the forest. Nope, they are the priests from the temple that Passepartout forgot to remove his shoes. Yes Fix has been “fixing” things so that they can’t go further.

What jerks

What jerks

The judge decrees Passepartout imprisonment for fifteen days and a fine of £300 (£30,600.00 or $61,200.00 today)

And as Passepartout is Fogg manservant, he gets a week imprisonment sand has to pay £50 pounds.

outrageous

Fogg is a quick thinker and pays bail, £2000.00 for the both of them (£204000.00 today). And they scurry off to the steamer to continue their journey.

Fix is now in a “fix” as the only way that he can get a reward for bringing the robber in is if the robber still has the money. As Fogg has been spending so much (£5000 [£510000.00 today]) already, he is even more determined to stop him. Poor Fogg.

Not good

Not good

This is another thing I really like about this book. On one hand there is this grand adventure and race against time as Fogg strives to do what was then considered impossible. With Fix trying to stop him there is such intensity of suspense as you are afraid and unsure they will be able to complete it in time.

Suspense have to know

Every time I read my heart starts pumping as I become anxious for Fogg. Even though I’ve read it before, it gets me every, single time.

excited

Now Fix decides that in order to catch Fogg, the best thing to do would be befriending Passepartout, who he believes to be dimwitted. Passepartout, unknowingly to Fix, is starting to become suspicious of Fix. His “just happening” to follow them on the same route, being everywhere at the same time is just too coincidental.

Hmm..

Hmm..

Of course he would never dream that Fogg is believed to be a robber and instead thinks Fix is is an agent of the reform club, sent to stop Fogg from completing the bet.

At least not yet

As they cross the boat is hampered by a large storm. They reach Hong Kong twenty hours behind the time needed; and this will make him miss the next boat. But surprisingly Fogg does not blow up or become livid. Instead he is as calm as the fog, amazing those around him.

Of course, Fix sees this as the best thing that could happen, giving him an advantage and chance to arrest him once again.

When they reach Hong Kong, they search for a ship to go out and discover that the Carnatic was being repaired and will be leaving the next day, suiting them perfectly.  They use the next sixteen hours before launch to help settle Aouda. As the search for her relatives, they discover that her relative, Jejeeh has left China two years ago for Holland. Fogg invites Aouda to continue with them, turning this merry band into a trio.

morethemerrier

Fix decides to approach Passepartout, takes him drinking, and lays everything on the table. He tells him about the robber and the £52,000 stolen. He offers Passepartout £500 to help him keep Fogg there a few days until the warrant for his arrest arrives. Passepartout will hear nothing of it, defending his master and cursing the reform club for sending this agent.  Passepartout continues to say no, when Fix gives him more and more wine and opium until he passes out.

clueless mybad oops

While that was occurring, Fogg was taking Aouda shopping to have her outfitted for the journey. He noticed that Passepartout was still out, but did not worry as he should be back in the morning, The next day when there was no sign of him, Fogg began to worry. Fix approaches the two and infiltrates their group, telling them the boat has launched already 12 hours ago and there will be no other setting off for a week.

clueless mybad oops

But Fogg has not given up. He searches the dock until he finds a ship that will take him to his next destination. No one can, but one will take him to where the boat stops in Japan, allowing him to pick it up and head for San Francisco.

Once again we see an interesting development in this man. Instead of his usual contemplation of numbers, how much time is left and dividing it in the miles and dates needed to complete the bet, he is thinking of his valet Passepartout. Where is he? Is he on the ship? Or could he be somewhere else? It appears that Fogg is a robot after all. He has a heart and care for those around him.

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After Fix left Passepartout, two waiters carried him to the designated place for patrons to “sleep it off”. When he awoke three hours later he was in such fits for time and made straight way for the boat, collapsing on it. The stewards took him to his room where he slept and did not wake until they were far from China. There he discovers himself without his master and a loss as what to do next as he has no money or plan.

I don't know what to do

When he reaches Japan he searches for food and a way to make money. He sells his clothes to make a little money, swapping for more Japanese ones. He then joins a acrobatic troupe, as he has experience in such things in his past before becoming a valet. The group is leaving for the United Stares. While he is performing, who should he see in the crowd but his master and Aouda? He quickly joins them and they head out for the next steamer to America.

Double double yay

Their boat had dropped them off in Japan and they searched for Passepartout, discovering that he had taken the boat and was somewhere in the city. They had been searching everywhere, when they decided to stop at the theater and of course came across Passepartout! Such luck!

Aouda shares about their companion Fix, of which Passepartout says nothing yet. But he plans his revenge on the man for the next time they meet.

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Fix on the other hand is very disheartened. He was planning on arresting Fogg, but he is no longer on English soil and cannot be taken by the English warrant. Instead he would need to have extradition papers. He knows this will be hard to do, and instead decides to just follow them and arrest them the minute their feet touch English soil.

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Passepartout comes across Fix and settles to “fix” him, but Fix convinces him that he is no longer a threat as he wants him to reach England now and will do all he can to ensure it.

When they reach San Francisco, Aouda and Fogg go so that Fogg can get his passport stamped. Passepartout has been listening to stories about the West and asks if he can purchase guns for their protection as there is the possibility that the Native Americans will attack the railroad.

They all end up in the middle of a scuffle with a Colonel Stamp Proctor attacking Fogg, who is saved by Fix. They then have to go purchase new clothing as theirs are ragged from the fight, that they had no clue why it was even started.

I don't know what to do

They go through California and Nevada pretty quickly, but it is as they are heading into Utah that they are stopped by the buffalo and have to wait until the rail is cleared. And I have personal experiences with such things, the buffalo move real slow when they want to and it can take a loooooong time. For them it took three hours.

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While on the train, Passepartout comes acorss a notice of a lecture by the Mormon Elder William Hitch, and he decides to attend as he knows very little about Mormonism. Passepartout does not become a fan of the religion as he thinks it is horrible for one man to have to take care of so many wives. Oh, Passepartout.

Oh well.

Oh well.

They end up having to wait again as snow slows the train. And unfortunately they discover that Col. Proctor is on the same train.  Fix, Passepartout, and Aouda are all afraid of what might happen if the two meet as all want him to reach his goal. They decide to band together and try and keep him in the room, so that no trouble is started.

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They distract him with whist, but then face another problem. The only way to go forward is to cross a bridge, but it is too unsafe. However that can-do American spirit brings the engineer to decide they can make it if they go full speed.

Passepartout is afraid but as they all mock him he aggrees to continue. They manage to just cross in time, barely getting over before the bridge breaks to smithereens.

keanu Whoa

They run into Colonel Proctor who insults Fogg a second time. Fogg doesn’t want to take the time out to fight as he is on a schedule, but Proctor insists now or never. They are just about to duel when the Sioux attack.

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Yes never a dull moment here. Now all those others who go around the word for real in 80 days or less, no matter what they do I’m sure they never had as action packed a journey as this one. This is another thing I love about Verne, you never know what will happen next. Just fantastitic.

This is great

This is great

So as the Sioux attack, they switch from fighting each other to their attackers.They all have to fight, Aouda being an excellent markswoman.

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You know that is another thing about Verne. Look at Aouda she is an amazing character that no one ever talks about. Highly educated, wanting to be in control of her own life, a world traveler, brave, an excellent markswoman, willing to protect those she loves, and Indian.  Pretty fascinating.

Wow

Wow

Most of the passengers are injured, ranging from slight cuts to serious wounds. Three are missing, one being Passepartout. Even though this will put him far behind, Fogg decides it is more important to find Passepartout and free him. He leaves Aouda and Fix at the nearest Fort, and is determined to set out after Passepartout. Fogg pays some men to go with him and sets out.

Let'sdothis

Meanwhile Fix finds himself worrying about Fogg escaping, wondering why he agreed to stay behind with Aouda. The engineer is repairing the train and they are determined to set off. Aouda  won’t leave without Fogg and refuses to continue on.

They wait in the fort while the captain comptemplates sending men after Fogg or just waiting as it is most likely Fogg is dead.

Not good

Not good

The next morning Fogg returns with the passangers and Passepartout.

Poor Passepartout, he just creates so many problems for his master without meaning to. Leaving the gas on in his room before they left, getting them arrested and having to pay bail, destroying the circus and causing him to pay there, getting drunk and causing worry as he left them behind, and now being captured by the Sioux. It is like he attracts trouble.

trouble Twilight Zone

Fix proposes a new idea to Fogg. Instead of waiting until night to catch the next train, what of they went on a sledge with sails? They decide to do it. Fogg wants to leave Aouda and Passepartout behind, as he doesn’t want Aouda to travel in such a crude way and Passepartout to be there to protect her. Aouda won’t  have any of it as she wants to travel with him.

They go on the sledge and manage to reach their destination in time to pick up a train to New York City.

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But when they reach New York they discover that the boat left 45 mins early.

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There is nothing else left. The game is up and they lost as they could never make it in time on any other boat. It is the end.

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Passepartout feels horrible as he blames himself for the misfortune.

clueless mybad oops

But just as all grows dark, Fogg spies a ship that looked like it was setting out. He tries to convince the captain, and owner, to get him across but he won’t do it. Even when he offers to purchase it, nope. Only when he offers to pay $8000 ($160,000.00 today).

When the Captain wont take him to Liverpool where needs to go, he bribes the crew, locks up the captain, and takes complete control of the boat.

He did buy it.

He did buy it.

They run into a storm, and as Fogg will not give up he starts using pieces of it as fuel.

They manage to reach Queenstown and it looks like the completion of the bet is in their grasp. They can make it to London in time to spare. As they head out, Fix asks Fogg if he is Phileas Fogg, when he answers yes, Fix arrests him.

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Ugh Fix!!! Why couldn’t you let him win his bet! After all you’ve been through!

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Fogg sits in jail for two hours, and is finally released by an ashamed Fix who has discovered that the real bank robber has been arrested.

clueless mybad oops

He boards a train but it is too late. They are five mins behind. Fogg has lost everything!

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Fogg is completely distressed. He takes Aouda to his home and prepares his affairs. Passepartout is completely downhearted and blames himself; but Fogg doesn’t.

Fogg stays home all day and that night speaks with Aouda.

“Madam,’ said he [Phileas Fogg], ‘will you pardon me for bringing you to England?’

‘I, Mr. Fogg!’ replied Aouda, checking the pulsations of her heart.

‘Please let me finish,’ returned Mr. Fogg. ‘When I decided to bring you far away from the country which was so unsafe for you, I was rich, and counted on putting a position of my fortune at your disposal; then your existence would have been free and happy. But now I am ruined.” (pg. 201)

Aw how sad. Then this next part is really cool. Aouda is trying to console him; friends and relatives will aid him; but alas Fogg says he has none.

“Mr. Fogg,’ said Aouda, rising and seizing his hand, ‘do you wish at once a kinswoman and friend? Will you have me for your wife?’

Mr. Fogg at this rose in turn. There was an unwonted light in his eyes, and a slight trembling of his lips…’I love you!’ he said simply. ‘Yes, by all that is holiest, I love you, and I am entirely yours!” (pg. 202)

How sweet!

How sweet!

You know, for a novel in 1873 there are some things in here you wouldn’t see in most books. Interracial marriage, Aouda proposing instead of Fogg. Tell me, why don’t people speak of this book more. It is amazing in its plot, the characters, the way he ties everything together. I just love it.

I love it

So anyways, they decide to marry tomorrow and Passepartout takes off t speak to a Reverend.

Time for a wedding!

Time for a wedding!

After the real robber was captured, all the people turned themselves back to betting on Fogg and whether or not he would make it back in time. Everyone was trying to find him to see where he was at but none could reach him

As it is the day, all those involved in the bet meet up at the club and wait for Fogg. As they reach three minutes to nine the men are feeling completely secure in that he will not be back in time, but who should walk in the door, but Fogg!

Whattheheck

What? How did he do it How could he win the bet when we know he arrived too late because he was placed in jail?

Well, after Aouda and Fogg were engaged, Passepartout left to secure a Reverend. He returns completely nonsensical and tells them they cannot be married the next day. Fogg demands to know why and Passepartout tells him because tomorrow is Sunday.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

It turns out that the last storm actually made them arrive one day early. They went around the world in 79 days.

Wow

Wow

Fogg determines that he spent £19000 on the trip and decides the profit of £1000 will be divided between Passepartout and Fix. Fogg asks Aouda if she still wants to marry him now that he is rich, of which she says it is up to him. Will he not want her now? Fogg wants her as his wife whether rich or poor.

iLoveyou

I love the way Verne ends his book:

“What had he [Philieas Fogg] really gained by all this trouble? What had he brought back from this long and weary journey?

Nothing you say? Perhaps so; nothing but a charming woman, who, strange as it may appear, made him the happiest of men!

Truly, would you not for less than that make the tour around the world?” (pg. 210)

How sweet!

How sweet!

Yes, I just love that book. It is so amazingly good and well written. I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys a good story and plot. You should definitely check it out.

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to I Found this Blank Book of Stitched Together Pages…I’ll Record the Details of Our Confinement: Book of a Thousand Days

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For more Jules Verne, go to Heaven on Earth

For more interracial romance, go to The Right Path is Not the Easiest One

For more races, go to I Want to Be Your Ideal Man: Grease (1978)

For more on Lemony Snicket, go to Fan-do or Fan-don’t. There is No Fan-try

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Today’s Christmas Carol is a favorite of mine, We Three Kings of Orient. This carol was written in 1857 by John Henry Hopkins, Jr. I really love the refrain as I find it to be so beautiful. Star of wonder star of light; I love singing that.

I couldn’t find the version I really like, so I settled on the one by Hugh Jackman, David Hobson and Peter Cousen.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to Harvest Pumpkin Scones

For more Hugh Jackman, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

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It’s Always Tea Time

So a while back we had a tea party at our church for an event.

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Different people were given a table, in which we could make our theme whatever we wanted. I was given a table and my theme was books! After all:

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Anyways, I just realized I forgot to post the pics from it. So I thought I would now.

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My centerpiece was a collection of nice hardcover classics stacked on top of each other, with a hollowed book on top that a tree branch came out of. Clipped to the tree was tea bags for each person to choose from.

I then chose six of my favorite classic books in which the characters have tea time or talk about tea. With each table setting I tried to embody the book.

mr knightley drinks tea

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Setting 1: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, 1814

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So for the first setting I made sure to pair it with a very simple cup, as Fanny is not only a poorer relation, but she is a girl who likes simple things over the grandiose and showy. I laid out a copy of the book cover in front of the table setting, and then had this quote on the table.

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Then the cutlery:

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I put a white bow because Fanny would be the type to have a simple adornment like that, instead of extensive work on her dress.

I also added the gold cross as that is a huge part of the scheming by Maria Crawford to get Henry and Fanny matched up. When Fanny asks to borrow a chain for the gold cross her brother gave her, Maria sneakily gives her one that Henry gave her; so when Henry sees it he thinks that Fanny has decided to embrace his attentions, (i.e. gave him the green light).

For more on Mansfield Park, go to A World of Teas

For more Jane Austen, go to Free, for Lack of a Better Word, is Good

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Setting 2: Emma by Jane Austen, 1815

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The second setting I choose Emma. For this I had a gold and cream cup and saucer; the fanciest one I could find as Emma was rich and from an old family. She would have the finer things.

I laid out the book cover and this quote from the novel:

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For Emma’s cutlery I wanted something a bit showier and fancier. I made a hair clip out of a red flower and gold fan charm. I thought this would encompass the character of Emma.

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For more on Emma, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to I Can’t Pretend, I Have to Be

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Setting 3: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, 1859

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This was the table setting I choose for myself as I figured I would probably be the only one at the tea party who has read this book. And I was right. I don’t know why people don’t read Wilkie Collins anymore. This one of my favorite mysteries, as our main character comes upon a woman in white who holds a warning, leading him down a very twisted path. As the story continues, different characters become the voice of the book, until we reach the conclusion and discover who this woman in white is and what she is trying to stop.

I set up a copy of the book cover, and in front of it had my absolute favorite tea quote:

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Seriously, if you aren’t here I am starting without you.

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Anyways, the silverware:

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This was the first one I put together going with a magnifying glass as this was a mystery, and adding a cameo afterwards. I thought it would be a great symbol of the time, along with the white silhouette of a women being reminiscent of the woman in white.

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Setting 4: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, 1865

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The fourth setting was an Alice in Wonderland theme. The cup I choose for this was one designed to be a rose, while the saucer a leaf. This was to symbolize the Garden that Alice has a not so fun time in.

I set up a copy of the book cover, and in front of it had this quote:

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Then I designed the napkins thusly:

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The watch of course for the White Rabbit who is always running late, and the creamer for the Mad Hatter and March Hare’s obsession with tea and their endless tea party.

For more on Alice in Wonderland, go to Disney Lesson

For more on Lewis Carroll, go to Can’t Go Back 

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Setting 5: Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie, 1911

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Second to last we had Peter Pan. The cup I choose for this one had strawberries on it, and I choose it because I thought it was something that Wendy would have liked.

I laid out the book cover and this quote:

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For the setting I went with something a little more basic, a red feather. This feather was supposed to be the feather Peter wears in his hat.

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For more on Peter Pan, go to My Teaddiction (Tea Addiction)

For more on J. M. Barrie, go to Fan-do or Fan-don’t. There is No Fan-try

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Setting 6: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, 1950

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For the last setting I went a little more modern than the others. This one’s tea cup had a winter scene as the world of Narnia is stuck in a cycle of :

Always winter but never Christmas”

I laid the book cover and this quote:

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This quote is from Mrs. Beaver, but for cutlery design I went with Mr. Tumnus and Lucy’s tea time. I had two tiny tea cups tied to symbolize their tea for two.

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For more on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, go to Simply Fantastic

For more on C. S. Lewis, go to Going on a Treasure Hunt

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For more on my love of tea, go to My Trip to Teavana

For more book-filled posts, go to A Book Only a Reader Could Write

Not a Hipster, But an O.F.

I hate hipsters.

Guy you suck!

Guys you suck!

Every hipster I have ever met have been these horrible elitist who think they are better than everyone.

MeanGirls I know right!

Ugh. They drive me crazy. They take all the stuff I have loved for years and jack up the prices. Oh, and don’t get me started on their fake glasses wearing. Wearing glasses can be a hard life and the people who do face all kinds of challenges and it bugs me to no end to see these people wear them for “fashion.” It’s like people walking around with hearing-aids for “fashion”. It’s so rude.

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I just can’t stand them, and to make things even worse everyone thinks I’m one.

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You see I have always loved older things. I love classic literature (and actually have read them, not just pretended).

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I love records, especially the art of the album cover!

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I only like music from the past as that is what I grew up listening and I just cannot connect to modern music.

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I love classic cinema as that is what my mom used to show us when we were growing up. I remember being the only kid who liked “black and white” films.

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Or the only one who knew Alfred Hitchcock, William Powell, Errol Flynn, Laurence Oliver, Gregory Peck, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, etc were.

I can only pick 5?

I also only shopped at thrift stores as it was cheap and my family stressed the idea of using something until it was broken and unfixable. For instance I carried a CD player around with me into high school. Yes about 6 years ago when everyone had an iPod or something, I was still carrying my CD player to school and CDs to change them out.

So people think I’m a hipster, but I was doing far before the “hipster” movement came out.

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Like Ginger said, I was raised old fashioned. And that’s how I like it.

It is the truth.

It is the truth.

That’s how I was raised. Vintage, old, historic, traditional; these were a way of life for us, and especially me.

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That’s right. I don’t follow the current trends, even if they are “new-old” ones. I do what I like and enjoy the things I love. Sometimes the books, clothing, film, or even dating styles I like aren’t popular:

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But I don’t care if it goes against the crowd or isn’t what “everyone else is doing”. I enjoy the things I enjoy and I’m going to keep living my life the way it is.

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For more on being old-fashioned, go to It’s Not Old…It’s Vintage

For more on hipsters, go to We’re in the Future: Good-bye 2015

For more in Italo Calvino, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more Ginger Rogers, go to Food, Food, Food!

I Must Stay Strong

So the other day I went to the bookstore, and you know how much I love that.

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But this time I had a plan. I had far too many books at home that I had yet to read; so I wasn’t going to buy myself anything, just birthday shop for my friend.

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But then when I started looking I found all these books half off.

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So I grabbed a bunch I liked along with some potentials for my friend. But then I looked at the bargain books. They were beautiful hardcover classics and oh, my I wanted them all.

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So there I was with stacks of books, looking and wanting them all.

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Nothing else I seem to have this problem, except with books.

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But then reality hit me. I already needed more shelf space, and really have books spilling everywhere.

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So I did one of the hardest things, I had to put some of the books back.

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Instead I bought one book, a selection of stories from One Thousand and One Nights, in a beautiful hardcover book for only $8.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

I then bought a copy of Tarzan of the Apes for $2.50; a steal of a deal.

Double double yay

But then I had to do something with all the books I wasn’t taking home. So I stacked them on top of each other and carried them around the store putting them back. One of the employees saw me and asked if I needed a cart, but said no I was putting things back. He was worried about me carrying so many. But I was like I work in a library, I do heavy lifting like this all the time.

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Because you know, that’s how I roll.

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For more book-filled posts, go to One Hot Date

For more on bookstores, go to Walk My Way

Baby Jane Austen

So I’m sure some of you might be thinking that I will be writing about Jane Austen’s life as a baby.

Hoe cute she probably was

She was probably a cute baby.

Well no, I’m not. Instead I am talking about Jane Austen novels for babies!

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I know, how cool is that? There is a company called BabyLit that takes classic novels and turns them into baby primer board books; that is learning books for babies.

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Now they can also read classic novels!

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So far they have Dracula on counting: Alice in Wonderland on colors; A Christmas Carol on colors; Wuthering Heights on the weather; Moby Dick on the ocean, Jane Eyre on counting; Romeo & Juliet on counting; The Jungle Book on animals; Sherlock Holmes and the Hounds of Baskerville on sounds; Anna Karenina on fashion; Jabberwocky on nonsense; Frankenstein on anatomy; The Wonderful Wizard of Oz on colorsand Huckleberry Finn on camping.

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And of course they have covered Jane Austen with Emma, Pride & Prejudice, and Sense & Sensibility.

Double double yay

And of course me being a major fan, I just had to buy them and check them out.

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But as I have no children and didn’t have any extra book space to hold onto them for if that ever happened (my books are already in every spare spot I have) I bought them for my friend’s baby. So far I have only purchased two (Emma and Pride & Prejudice), one for Christmas and the other for her first birthday. When I buy Sense & Sensibility for this Christmas I’ll review it.

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Emma

Emma: A BabyLit Emotions Primer by Jennifer Adams

So we know the story of Emma right? The bare bones of it is a bored girl tries her hand at matchmaking:

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But in the ends her schemes don’t go anything like she planned.

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However, that is too advanced for a baby; so this one is all about emotions with cute illustrations. Emma is excited! Mrs. Bates is scared! Mr. Knightley is Loved.

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You got that right!

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Pride & Prejudice

Pride & Prejudice: A BabyLit Counting Primer by Jennifer Adams

So Pride & Prejudice, the most famous of the Jane Austen novels. In it a mother is trying to marry off her offspring, but her meddling can cause some issues.

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Plus some manipulations, misunderstanding, and perseverance see that four couples find their happy match (once again bare bones).

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So once again too much for a baby, so this one is all about counting: nine fashionable dresses, five sisters, two gentlemen, etc.

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Sense & Sensibility: A BabyLit Opposites Primer by Jennifer Adams

So this is the story of two sisters who go from being wealthy, to having nothing.

Elinor Dashwood: Marianne, you must change. You will catch a cold. Marianne: What care I for colds when there is such a man. Elinor Dashwood: You will care very much when your nose swells up.

They get caught up in others manipulations, in their own striving for happiness, and discovering that being all sense or all sensibility isn’t the right way to be; their should be a balance of both. Plus sisters will always be there for the other.

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There are also manipulations, secret affairs, meddling matchmakers and more. But of course, that isn’t something babies can grasp so instead we have opposites: big, small, happy, sad, etc.

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So What Did I Think Of It?

So while it doesn’t tell the whole story of these novels (which I didn’t expect it to) I thought these were a wonderful idea and I want to purchase them all.

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In a world where less and less people are reading, especially the classics: it is important to bring these memorable works back into the mainstream. I mean there is a reason why they were chosen as classics and they need to be read by everyone.

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And while this book focus on it’s theme (colors, counting, feelings) more than the plot of the novel; two very imoprtant things come out of here.

First, the child is being given a classic novel and grows up hearing that name and the characters; making them much more open to reading the real book when they are old enough.

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And second, you reading to your child teaches them the importance of family time and the importance of reading. Thus making them book fans too.

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So I highly recommend buying these and adding them to your child’s bookshelf. After all:

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Save Our Youth! Read Classics Today!

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For more on Emma, go to When You Shockingly Relate to Mr. Woodhouse

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Death Comes to Pemberley

For more on Sense & Sensibility, go to I Don’t Want You Far From Me: Sense and Sensibility (1995)

For more Emma variations, go to The Austen Series: Amanda

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to The Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy

For more Sense & Sensibility variations, go to The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Captain Wentworth’s Diary 

When Horror Doesn’t Stay on the Screen: Phantom of the Megaplex (2000)

Phantom of the Megaplex

When horror doesn’t stay on the screen!

I loved this film so much as a kid! There are so many amazing things involved in it!

  1. It’s a DCOM (Disney Channel Original Movie). Now I’m from the generation that these movies came out every month and were amazing. Today all the DCOMs are completely dumb, and poorly written, but back in my day they were actually something to look forward to on a friday night.
  2. It’s a very well done modern version of the Phantom of the Opera. I loved how well they do it! I love almost everything Phantom of the Opera-y. (The 1945 version was atrocious! Don’t watch it!)
  3. They reference so many other movies, that it just makes a cinephile like me squeal in delight!
  4. It has MICKEY ROONEY! Yes this amazing man plays a misunderstood guy, and classic film buff. When I watched this film I wanted to be just like him. I wanted to have quotes and film plots memorized that I just whipped out whenever something came up that was similar. Phantom of the Operamay have started me in my love of classic film, but this film completely changed my personality.
  5. It takes place in a movie theater, one of my favorite places to be and where I have always wanted to work at. I wish I could get a job there, but so many others want to work there it’s hard to get in. 😦 One day!
  6. Taylor Handley was the main guy. I had the hugest crush on him when this film came out, I was like 8 or 9 and in love with him.

So the film starts out with the credits and Fugue in D Minor, classic, horrific stuff! Love the creepiness of the organ! We are also told that when the original theater was destroyed to create the new megaplex, a man was supposedly trapped in there and now haunts the megaplex for all eternity.

Taylor Handley’s character, Pete Riley, introduces us to the megaplex where he works at.

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They are getting ready for a huge film premiere, Midnight Mayhem, at the theater. He is the assistant manager and not only in charge of a making sure everything goes just right, but a crazy collection of workers.

  1. There’s Shawn MacGibbon and Senior Manager. He is getting passed over for the owner’s doofus son. Something he is not happy about. He’s Pete’s boss.
  2. Ricky “Rules”. He always follows the rules to a T and makes sure everyone else does.
  3. “Scary” Terry. She is always talking about some seemingly innocent thing turns out to be murderous. She loves the macabre.
  4. Hillary “Honey”. She’s the mom of the group and always calling everyone dear, sweetie, or honey.
  5. “Question” Mark. Whenever he’s told to do something, he always answers with a question mark.
  6. “Racy” Lacy. Always moving a mile a minute.
  7. Merle. He’s not really under Pete either, he kind of does what he wants. He’s the projectionist and handyman extraordinaire. He feels under-appreciated at his job.
  8. “Movie” Mason. Played by the wonderful Mickey Rooney! I love Movie Mason and wanted to be just like him. Movie Moreland!  I love the sound of that. Mason is mistreated by Shawn MacGibbon. Everyday Mason comes with a mock schedule, his family owned the old theater and it was his personal playground. MacGibbon hates him, and is verbally abusive to him every time he sees him. Mason is absolutely awesome though. He has an amazing speech in the film. It was so well written.

Movie Mason: When we arrive in this world magic is all around us…Yet as the years pass, simple pleasures aren’t quite so simple to find. Myths… Legends… Fall away. Santa’s secrets are revealed. Card tricks lose their fascination. True wonder is hard to come by… But there is always magic at the movies. Pirate ships… bicycles that fly… angels earn their wings, beautiful women marry handsome men and we all learn that there is no place like home. To destroy that magic, to shatter those moments to me is a sin so grave it would almost be incomprehensible!”

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Pete’s mom is going out that night so he ends up being stuck with his cinephillic brother and sister. This turns out to be the least of his problems as there is a masked figure roaming about that is causing all kinds of disasters all over the theater.

Electrical systems fail, a candy machine breaks down and shoots the gumballs all over the lobby. Then the popcorn machine goes haywire and Pete has to figure out how to stop it. Every time he solves one problem new ones start popping up.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Phantom then starts pranking films based on their plot or name. In Cyclone Summer, a Twister like film, he places a giant fan that blows destructively at the audience.

In Cut to Black, he makes lights flicker on and off, cutting to black. He continues on this spree. Giant blowups ballons are misplaced and pop up elsewhere, MAYHEM ALL OVER.

Pete valiantly tries to stop him and determine who he is! Will He find out? Watch and see!

Now for movies he references are the following (I watched this a few weeks ago so sorry if I don’t list all of them, comment any I don’t catch):

  1. King Kong: The Gorilla balloon that attacks the people in the Mayhem Movie
  2. The Wizard of Oz: Mason quotes from it and references it.
  3. Twister: Cyclone Summer is a parody of it
  4. Godzilla, The Giant Behemoth, The Great Gila Monster, or The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms: Midnight Mayhem has a huge dinosaur that attacks a city.
  5. Scream. The girls are in the bathroom and the phantom is lurking around scaring them much like he tries to scare Sydney.
  6. Scream 3. A similar scene with the phantom lurking around happens in here too.
  7. Sleepless in Seattle. The kids hope that the mom will be proposed to in this way.
  8. Miracle on 34th Street. He references it in his speech he gives on magic.
  9. Hollywood Hotel. Mickey Rooney sings the song “Hooray for Hollywood“.
  10. The Sword in the Stone. They are running a promotional that if you pull the plastic sword out of the plastic stone you will win free movie passes. Pete runs and grabs it to destroy the blow up balloons.
  11. Tarzan or George of the Jungle. Pete swings on a vine over to capture the phantom.
  12. Phantom of the Opera. Of course, the whole film is based on it!

That’s the fearful post for today! More to come! 3 Days ‘Till Halloween

Here is a cover page/poster I made for my facebook page for my countdown to Halloween.

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To start Horrorfest from the beginning, go to I Don’t Belong in the World

For the previous post, go to Feast Your Eyes on My Accursed Ugliness

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For more on The Phantom of the Opera, go to It’s BACK: The Sequel

For more of horror happening in a movie theater, go to Midnight Madness

For more on Disney, go to I’m No Warrior, I’m An Assistant Pig-Keeper

For more on Disney Channel Original Movies, go to Bowled Over

For more on The Giant Behemoth, go to From the Sea Burning Like Fire 

For more of my fav quotes, go to I Want Friend Like Me

Darcy’s Dream Date

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet (1940)

In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy has very particular guidelines as to who the perfect woman is. The perfect (accomplished) woman is one who has

“a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved.’ Caroline Bingley…’All this she must possess,’ added Darcy, ‘and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

After reviewing this statement I have discovered that I am Mr. Darcy’s perfect woman.

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1)Knowledge of Music

I grew up in a musical house, although I cannot play any one instrument profusely. Here are some of my musical accomplishments.

  • The Afoxé: I love this instrument and have been playing it my whole life.
  • The Piano: I know how to play Hot Cross BunsRugrats Theme, and Chopsticks.
  • The Recorder: This is the instrument that I am best in. I learned how to play the Star Wars Theme, Hot Cross Buns, Three Blind Mice, Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me), and every song from Disney’s Pocahontas.
  • The Guitar: I know one very old hymn.

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2) Singing

I have sung my whole life. I absolutely love to sing along to anything playing that I know. I was in many musicals in high school; having little solos. The only bad thing is that I have an alto voice, which has never been prided on. Everyone always prefers sopranos in women. At least I have Motown to fall back on. Motown cannot be sung right by a soprano, they are just not able to belt out the tunes.

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3) Drawing

I took painting and drawing classes for two years before I switched to photography. Now I am not one of those geniuses who can draw or paint a perfect image from memory, but I do extremely well at drawing if I can see the image I am trying to sketch. Painting, I only do well at watercolors, or objects such as a room, plate, frame, etc. I also do very well in pastels and chalk. Cartooning is another thing I do well, as you don’t have to apply to realistic proportions. My main forte is in decoupage, collaging, and photography.

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4) Dancing

I am not the world’s best dancer, but my biggest strength is that I am a fast learner, and can be taught dance moves quickly. However I have been trained in certain areas.

  • Waltz: I learned this from the Sleeping Beauty’s collector edition DVD. It was very easy to learn
  • Thriller: Love the song and know almost the whole dance.
  • Flashdance: I know the whole dance, but am not as good as her.
  • Ballet: Was in a class for a few days before I transferred out, I was put there by accident. However, what I learned there will forever remain in my mind.
  • The Time Warp: Such a fun song!
  • Bollywood: I watch a lot and love to dance along.
  • Mash Potato: Such fun!
  • The Twist: Who doesn’t like to twist?
  • Square Dancing: A fun requirement everyone has to learn.
  • Line-Dancing: I love all types of music, country being one of them.
  • West Coast Swing: Unfortunately there weren’t enough guys so I learned the guy’s part instead of the girls.
  • Breakfast Club Dance: Not only can I do the feet thing, but I have Ally Sheedy’s dance down.
  • MC Hammer: Only Can’t Touch This, and not even all of that.

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5) Modern Languages

I wish I knew more languages fluently, but alas I am only bilingual (and even that some may not count.)

  • Fluent American: Not the same as English as we have a mix of slang from many different cultures and word’s that have multitude of meanings.
  •  Fluent English: I know the proper and elegant way to word things, along with a lot of English slang.
  • Some Spanish: My family is part hispanic and I have taken three years of spanish class. I know how to introduce myself (Me llamo es), say where I am from (Yo soy de), if I want to go somewhere (Yo voy, tu vas, nosotros vamos…), how to ask for things (puedo por favor; donde esta…), help (ayudame), the weather, how to say I am hurt or injured, can count etc…
  • Smattering of French: I know how to say hello, good-bye (five different ways), and a few other things.
  • Sign Language: I know quite a few words and the whole alphabet.
  • Danish: A few words here and there

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5) Something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions

Got all those covered. Everything in my manner of doing things always brings support to what I am talking about.

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6) Extensive Reading

This is where I fit the bill most of all. I have been reading since I was a small child, and I READ ALL THE  TIME. I am never without a book, and devour them extremely fast, no matter the length. In fact I meet my goal of reading 365 books this year a couple of weeks ago. And I love to read EVERYTHING! Mystery, classics, sci-fi, horror, romance, historical fiction, non-fiction, biography, westerns, plays, novels, etc. I love the library, that spend as much free time there possible. One of my favorite things is to just go through the stacks and look at all the different books, choosing which I think will be best. I have too many favorite books and authors that I just can’t pick one. I really want a library like in Beauty and the Beast or The Swan Princess. I mean if Darcy has asked me to marry him in his rude, conceited way that first time; I would have considered saying yes because I would know he would have a fantastic library.

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7) Embroidery

I know that this isn’t technically something that Darcy said was attractive in a woman, but it was something that most people valued a woman knowing back then. I only know hand sewing, and that in itself is mostly subjects related to patching; but I embroider like a boss. I have been doing it ever since I was a kid, amd enjoy it immensely.

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8) Cooking

Yes, I know. Only poor women or domestic help cooked at that time, but I’m proud of the fact that I am an extremely good cook. I can make anything, as long as I have a recipe, and am not daunted at trying new things. And for all the modern men out there, I make the best sandwiches out of every person I know. My older sister and I used to kid that I would make one very lucky guy extremely happy with that talent.

Well with all these accomplishments; along with filling many others that we value today, what guy wouldn’t want me? LOL

To see what you get go here

To see what you get go here

How many of you out there also fit the bill for Darcy’s Dream Date?

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For more on Mr. Darcy, go to Mr. Darcy: Man of Dream
For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Flirting With Disaster
For more bookish posts, go to Never an Empty Bed
For more quizzes, go to By George He’s Perfect
For more on my thoughts of music, go to On the 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, & 1st Days ‘Til Christmas
For more of my favorite quotes, go to Novel vs. Reality