Jesse Gall

Posts Tagged ‘Entertainment’

This Just In: Teenagers No Longer Worst Drivers

In Humor on July 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm

I’ve discovered there are only a few things you can do to entertain yourself on a four hour sojourn across the Tennessee landscape. You can watch as the billboards start to change from “GUNS” to “Luxury Condo’s from 120,000!” You can ruminate the rolling hills, green with élan vital. You can listen to your ipod on shuffle and amaze yourself at the strange eclectic nature of your musical library (Toni Braxton, James Taylor, Mariah Carey, Girl Talk, Steve Miller Band, CCR, Jason Mraz, Mars Volta, Eminem. Confused yet?).

I did all of these things. But nothing captured my attention more than the horrific driving that has become so typical of Tennessee. Maybe it’s not just in Tennessee. Maybe everyone drives like a Tourettes sufferer on the back end of a three day sleepless binge, but it seems that the poor drivers of the country have gathered, settling in Tennessee.

I careened out of danger and weaved through recklessness. I dodged texters and GPS fiddlers. I did it all. But I noticed something interesting as I navigated my way through the traffic minefield that can be I-40: the worst drivers I encountered were in their 40s or 50s. This doesn’t make any sense! People are supposed to drive slower as they get older. I should be passing these people, not running for my life.

Don’t call me Nostradamus, but I offer you a prediction. In the next twenty years, the roads will be littered with seriously aging Baby Boomers driving too fast for their declining vision. No longer will the elderly drive at a glacial pace. This generation is the first generation to live entirely in a world of instant communication, where speed is synonymous with living. They’ve never been adult in a world that success wasn’t equated with a flurry of activity and busied antics. These people have things to do and it’s always been way. They have Tom Toms and Starbucks and Blackberries and bluberries and Sirius and DVDs in their dashboard.

They might have a whole lot. But nothing is more terrifying than the realization that this generation is also the first set of drivers with an entire fleet of tank-cars at their finger tips. Hummers, Explorers, 4Runners, Xterra, and Denalis roam the streets, bossy like schoolyard fat kids. They drive SUVs and they don’t see the twenty five year old in his little red Lancer. Oh but, they’re sure that I’ll move out of the way. Ugh.

Drivers prepare! Watch your mirrors and use your blinkers, these things can only help your chance of avoiding the most likely wreck you will ever have. Remember the defensive driving school you went to as a teenager when you received your first speeding ticket. Do well to prepare because the Boom in Baby Boomers might soon be associated with the sound of crunching metal. But hey, if you’re an Insurance Agent, you should do just fine. What recession?

Until the end, the Mended Blend.

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A Trip, A Break, A Narrative To Come

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2011 at 11:18 am

In the next few days, you might notice a marked decline in content for The Mended Blend. Never fear, we’re not breaking up. I’m just moving on to bigger and different cities: Brentwood, Franklin, and Nashville! I’m going out for a few days and when I come back, I hope you’re primed and prepped for a sprawling narrative of cultural differences.

I’m sure I will have a lot to say when I come back to you, my faithful readers, considering that I have a four hour drive to allow my brainstorming neurons to fire.

Until the end, the Mended Blend.

Local Attraction: Cirque Du Chine

In Local, Reviews on June 25, 2011 at 11:05 am

The circus is a place of intrigue, bewitching us as children with death defying feats of acrobatic mastery or reminding us as adults that awe can still be found. Last night, after months anticipation, I finally got to go see Pigeon Forge’s Cirque Du Chine chinese circus, and let me just say that I loved every minute of it. If you’re in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge or Sevierville for any reason, you should go. Kitschy  and corny at times, yet thrilling and unbelievable at others, Cirque Du Chine will take you around the emotional block.

The theater is magnificent, a monstrous stage dominating  the center of the building. Thirty some six-foot chinese lanterns pepper the ceiling and glow with a incandescent red that softens the intimidating expanse of the place. The theater can sit thousands of people, but there isn’t a bad seat in the house.

After finding our seats in the third row, I sat down giddy like a child, my leg suddenly developing Restless Leg Syndrome as I waited for the show to begin. The lights dropped and after a short message from the master of ceremonies, the show began. Coordinated dancers, jugglers, acrobatics, human statues, heart stopping balancing acts and more. There was just so much to watch and enjoy. The show is lengthy, but not too lengthy, providing just enough amazement.

Unfortunately, Cirque Du Chine isn’t perfect. I am of the old theater tradition that staunchly hates seeing anything, hearing anything, or being distracted in anyway by the goings on in the backstage, and in this regard, Cirque Du Chine could stand to improve. On more than one occasion, I could look across the stage and see the next four people about to enter. I could see lights, I could see spinning plates, I could see motorcycles. It’s amateur theater. It ruins the illusion, and considering how important “the illusion” is the the circus, I would suggest that Cirque Du Chine pull its backstage black curtains a little tighter. Also, the magician wasn’t so spectacular. It wasn’t his fault, it was just that I was sitting to the side, which made his sleight of hand a little more obvious.

But, the show was fantastic when I wasn’t distracted. I was particularly impressed with the loose wire walker (think tightrope walker, but with more slack), who walked around and swung about with ease, demonstrating amazing strength and balance. Also, the motorcyclists (I won’t spoil it) and anything that involved a chair were just breathtaking.

Overall, I would say you should take your family if you get the chance. It’s fun and everybody should go to the circus once in a while. I was laughing for no reason and grinning for two hours; I felt like a child. And sometimes, we adults – who like to strut around so entitled and so grown up – could use a nice childlike experience. Good for the spirit.

Until the end, the Mended Blend.

Flashback Review: The Fog (1980)

In Reviews on June 9, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Seeing how inclement weather has played quite the villain tonight, I thought I would repost a little movie review I did a few months ago to kick off a series of flashback movie reviews. The Nine To Five article was the second in the series.

Recently it has come to mind that perhaps my generation isn’t quite as clever as we think we are. Maybe we don’t know it all and maybe everything from our era isn’t the best. Maybe gas prices used to be cheaper and maybe the world felt safer. Maybe movies were better and maybe horror films weren’t rampantly turning into ludicrous torture-porn like “Hostel” or “Saw.” Maybe.

The only truly accurate way to find out is to look back at a time less familiar. So I think that’s what I will do. In an effort to better understand the ways of the past, I have decided to begin a series of articles re-reviewing films that have, unfortunately, been forgotten by time and a large majority of my lolzspeak-generation. And what better way to begin this series than in the 80’s with the classic 1980 John Carpenter film: “The Fog

I had never seen “The Fog,” and if you’re like me, the only thing you really knew about it was that it was remade into another movie you never saw in 2005 with that guy from “Smallville” and Selma Blair. Weird.

Set on the coast of Northern California, a mysterious fog quietly rolls in on the town’s 100th birthday, carrying something evil inside. As the fog carries onward, people begin to die ultimately stirring local radio personality Stevie Wayne (Adrienne Barbeau) to shriek across the airwaves and into cinematic history “There’s something in the fog!”

Though not exactly “Halloween” or “The Thing,” “The Fog” gives a decent effort in being an outstanding horror film. The pace is slow and menacing, like horror used to be, adding suspense to each quietly disturbing moment and Carpenter doesn’t spoon-feed his audience, which really is quite nice. It’s interesting to watch movies from a director who doesn’t assume his audience is made up of Twizzler-eating idiots.

Carpenter tells the story well and his actors help to paint the picture, but the whole thing is left feeling a little underwhelming. I have no issue with the style, which varies drastically from modern horror films. I was just a little confused about the bad guy. (SPOILER) The local priest, played brilliantly by Hal Holbrook, reveals that 100 years before, six men decided to kill a very wealthy leper and all the members of his colony, and it was with that money that the church and town were able to be built. Now, the lepers are returning to kill exactly six people in vengeance.

Alright. First, I didn’t know that lepers were really all that wealthy. I’ve kind of always thought of them as poor and beggar-ish. Perhaps I’m wrong. Second, Carpenter tells us that lepers are the bad guys but what he actually shows us in the fog are zombie sailors with hooks and swords. There seems to be a discrepancy here. The leper sailors have no consistency whatsoever. Sometimes they slowly and menacingly knock at the front door and sometimes they just break through it. I didn’t think that ghosts even had to use the door. I mean, they’re ghosts.

With a little more simplicity this film might have been great, but it wasn’t. It was good though, which isn’t terrible. Definitely worth watching if you’re into getting a little more in touch with your retro-film side. I mean, at least now I can make obscure references to John Carepenter’s 1980’s leper/ghost/sailor/zombie horror film “The Fog.”