Mad Chad shocks audience by juggling 3 running chainsaws at BCA event

By: Vee Glessner
Copy Editor

At 8 p.m. on the night of Sept. 21, an entertainer by the name of “Mad Chad” showed off his juggling skills in a hybrid comedy act put on by the Board of Campus Activities in the Davis Learning Center Auditorium. 

“My real name is Chad Taylor,” the performer introduced. “I grew up in Santa Monica. You can tell I’m from the beach because I still ride a skateboard and I don’t have a real job,” he commented, clumsily riding in on a skateboard. 

Chad started off the night by asking the audience to re-do his entrance with a more enthusiastic round of applause and cheers so he could post it on his social media.

He even handed out a supportive sign (that he had made) and a pair of women’s underwear for audience members to show and throw, respectively.

After warming up the crowd, Chad gathered four audience volunteers and handed them green plastic bats that would sit in wait for a few more tricks.

After some mild juggling of three tennis balls, and impressive juggling of four, he announced he would be juggling five.

Chad proceeded to juggle two tennis balls with a clump of three tied together, which elicited a hearty laugh.

“It’s so close to entertainment you can hardly tell the difference,” Chad joked to the audience about his hybrid comedy and stunt act.

This comment was well-timed, as he was about to juggle three silicone breast implants he claimed belonged to his ex-wife and cost him $8,000.

For a shocking stunt that made many in the audience scream, Chad juggled three 1000-volt stun guns in several different styles, including one he called “stun guns coming towards my face.”  

As he prepared for his next trick, he shared a bit about his background as a performer.

“I went down to Venice Beach at the age of 13 and started juggling. I put out my hat for tips and made $35 in one day. At the time my allowance was $6 a week. I went home, tossed a $10 at my dad, and said, ‘YOU mow the lawn!’” he recalled.

He asked for an object from the audience, any object, to juggle along with one raw egg and a 10-lb shot put ball.

The imbalance in weights and sizes, he said, make this trick very difficult.

After a poll from the audience, Chad ended up with a penny board in his hands and successfully juggled the challenging trio.

Moving to three, 10-lb shot put balls, Chad startled the audience by tossing one that landed with a crack on his head.

Fortunately, this was just another stunt, as the one his skull made contact with was actually a lightweight rubber lookalike.

Next, Chad dimmed the lights and pulled out three small balls that glowed orange.

He put on a great light show, including some comedic moments of just holding a ball and yanking it around in the air, and others of impressive sky-high juggling.

Three volunteers from the audience added personality to the next trick: Natalie held a carrot while Chad chopped it with a machete, making her sweat with a fake-clumsy act.

Robbie and Steven held a 6-foot tall unicycle in place for Chad to “leap” onto, which turned out to be a laborious and extended climb up the helpers’ limbs.

Up on the unicycle, the star asked the audience to yell “Eat it!” as he was juggling an apple and two knives to signal for him to take a bite of the apple.

By the time he reached the core, his mouth was full and the stage covered with half-chewed bits he had spit out.

For a short break in the show, Chad gave two of what he called public service announcements: first, to support local live entertainment.

Second, that the scar on his nose was not from a stunt gone wrong, but from a brush with skin cancer, and he warned to wear sunscreen and protective clothing when exposed to the sun.

Finally the audience got what they were waiting for: after a quick costume change and (another) dramatic entrance, Chad started his chainsaws.

He first juggled one, then two, then three 15-lb running chainsaws!

Before Chad got to the third one, he warned the audience, “If one is flying at you, I’m sorry. Also, please get out of the way because there’s two more right behind.”

After a short, sweaty, chainsaw-filled dance with death, Chad started to cool down.

“Figure out something you love to do and how you can get paid to do that,” he advised. “I love my job!” he said of the dangerous occupation.

A poll across the audience showed that most attendees still thought Chad should have gone to college.

Although it seemed the show had reached its peak, Mad Chad had one more thing on the agenda.

He balanced an upside-down skateboard on top of a cylinder on top of a box and stood on the skateboard, forcing himself to balance continually, then juggled a running chainsaw and two small pink balls.

The audience held their breath the whole time. “I almost passed out,” said attendee Paige Hill.

Chad has produced a one-hour documentary available on Amazon called “Buskers” about the lives of street performers from tightrope walkers to sidewalk samurais. He can be found on social media at @MadChadTaylor. 

Featured Features

Students’ Voice: Looking Back on This Semester’s First Exams

By: Alexander Liehr
Correspondent

Many classes are graded primarily through tests and exams, which have begun for courses across all majors.

Every older student has been through this process and they have valuable advice for success in class.

Obviously, students face this issue differently.  However, most agree that if you receive a high grade, you simply need to keep your current approach or look for small improvements. 

What this can look like varies across courses, as “every class is different and everything changes,” according to SGA President and double-major Zoe Crain.

Approaching the situation of receiving a low grade from the first test of a class is a different for all students. 

Crain emphasizes the necessity of “self-evaluation” to understand your individual dilemma. 

Other students, like Peter Hensley, an RA of T1, preach the necessity of “not stressing yourself out” and advise to “talk to your professor”.

First tests are the tests that usually set the tone of the class for the rest of the semester. 

However, they do not determine your final grade.  You can always bring your grade up and improve, all it requires is the proper effort.

Diversions

Do yourself A Simple Favor and Head to the Theatres This Weekend

By: Lucy Bebbington
Correspondent

Director Paul Fieg proved once again that his winning formula for a successful ensemble cast will draw big wins in the domestic box office.

Following up from his previous mega-hits “Bridesmaids” and “Spy,” “A Simple Favor” gives insight to complicated family dynamics and the toxicity of long-held secrets.

The film delivers scene stealing performances from Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick, as well as Henry Golding’s first acting credit post “Crazy Rich Asians.”

“A Simple Favor” sends viewers into a tailspin trying to follow Lively’s vivacious Emily Nelson, a public relations guru who favors 4 o’clock wine and designer outfits.

Providing a stark contrast to Nelson’s relaxed parenting style is Kendrick’s Stephanie Ward, a type-A mommy blogger raising her son as a single mother. 

Soon, long-buried family secrets spring into the forefront when Nelson mysteriously vanishes, leaving her determined best friend Ward to pick up the pieces of Nelson’s broken family.

As viewers unearth the realities of Nelson’s troubled youth, the circumstances surrounding her disappearance become increasingly suspicious and with Ward on the case, everyone is a suspect.

A suspenseful turn leads Ward to question her own sanity when previously determined facts morph into fiction.

ERAU Senior Gianna Lorusso was swept into the film’s dramatic plot line, stating, “I walked out of the theater really wondering what happened; the last fifteen minutes were very suspenseful.”  

Despite its enticing plot line and impeccable casting, “A Simple Favor” noticeably stumbles throughout the film, with its genre never fully clear to audiences.

Was it a dramatic comedy? A murder mystery? An argument could be made for it to be labeled a drama-thriller but in reality, the film is a melting pot of creative indecision.

Luckily, “A Simple Favor”’s A-list casting decisions and deliberately vague trailer have led to a strong box office result, with the initial $20 million budget already surpassed in ticket sales.

If you are interested in mysteries, mommy blogs, or manslaughter go check out “A Simple Favor” while it is still in theaters.  

Diversions

The Microwave War of Thumb Butte Complex

By: Hannah Sexton
Correspondent

Several weeks ago, residents of Thumb Butte’s M200 building complained about their microwave, saying it was old and didn’t cook well.

As a joke, some occupants stole M100’s microwave to use for their ramen. The next night students of M100 raided the M200 building armed with Nerf guns to recapture their microwave.

However, one of M200’s residents had hidden it in their room and the raiders couldn’t find it.

Eventually they were told to take M300’s microwave, which they did. But at the scene of the crime the raiders left a note saying, “Thanks for the microwave -M200.”

The next day, residents of M300 donned gray charcoal face masks and raided M200, again with Nerf guns, and found the microwave.

After taking back the treasure to their hideout, M200 occupants devised a plan. They took a cardboard box and drew buttons on it and screen to imitate a microwave.

They filled it with rocks and put it in M300’s kitchen with a note saying, “Since you like stealing microwaves.”

In the end, M300 had M100’s microwave while M100 had M300’s and M200 was returned theirs.

Eventually the chaos was stopped when Housing got involved and promised M200 a new microwave.

Diversions

Title: Model Review: Tamiya 1/20 Lotus 25

By: Noa Brown
Correspondent

For a long time, I wanted to build a model of a classic Formula 1 car. I drew a lot of inspiration from the 1967 film, “Grand Prix.”

Their tubular body shape, exposed engine, and suspension are something to be admired.

Watching footage of the cars whizzing down European city streets and back country roads make a glamorous image.

One of the only kits I could find of a car of this generation was Tamiya’s 1/20 scale Lotus 25.

The Lotus 25 was first introduced in 1962 and was driven by Jim Clark to a championship the following year. One of its great design features was its monocoque chassis.

The parts were molded quite decently with lots of detail and texture engraved into them.

The parts had more flash than what I was used to from Tamiya kits, although it still was not that excessive.

They were molded in color and organized based on the different components of the car.

The engine parts were molded in black and silver and the body panels in green, which I found helpful.

Assembly officially began with the bottom of the body. Being based on a monocoque car, there was never a true chassis frame to put together.

The interior portion of the lower body was a metallic color and the outer part was gloss green.

Tamiya recommended a series of spray paints to use on the parts which really simplified painting.

Once the lower body portion was done, I assembled the front suspension. That was when I discovered the kit came with a functional steering system.

The components were extremely flimsy and caused me a lot of difficulty. When I finished the suspension, I put the brakes together and mounted them on the car.

With the front of the car complete, I could assemble the cockpit. The dashboard was bright red with decals for instruments.

The spaces for the decals were recessed very deeply, making application extremely frustrating.

Using significant amounts of micro-solvent and micro-set helped the decals sink in.

The seat and steering wheel were painted using a mix of red and brown paints to resemble leather.

The engine came together very easily and the seams were very well hidden. Painting again was a relatively simple task mostly using a mix of semi-gloss black and aluminum.

I attempted to lightly weather the engine with grey pastels to make it look like it had been used.

Once complete, the engine slipped into the car like a glove.

Assembling the back suspension, despite no steering wheels, was more complicated than the front.

Each of the parts were tiny little rods which I then had to flex to make sure they fit with the rear axle.

To make matters worse, many came out of the box already broken on the sprue. I nearly broke the assembly many times, but I pulled through.

The final step was to paint and decal the body panels. The paint was gloss green with a Tamiya can.

Applying the decals proved to be another very painful task. The curved surface of the car made it difficult for the decals to conform properly.

When the decals finally did conform and dry, I sprayed the panels with a lacquer clear coat.

The kit overall proved to be quite difficult to assemble due to many small parts.

The decal application also proved to be a challenging experience. However, there was a tradeoff in that painting the model was quite simple from having large surfaces all be a single color.

I would recommend this model to someone more advanced who is better at handling small parts and difficult decal applications.

Diversions

My Internship Abroad

By: Noa Brown
Correspodent

Over this summer, I had the absolute pleasure of being one of two American students to intern at Daher.

Daher is the manufacturer of a single engine, turboprop business airplane known as the TBM and also fabricates parts and sub-assemblies for larger companies such as Airbus and Dassault. Daher is based in Tarbes, Hautes-Pyrenees, France.

Every year, Daher and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) host the Young Eagles Internship program.

I was one of two students to be accepted into the program this year. Daher sent me to France to work in the Daher Factory for five weeks.

Following the fifth week, I was sent to Oshkosh to help the company booth at the EAA Air Ventures.

I arrived in France on June 18. That was also when I met the other intern, Riley.

Riley is a pre-med student who has an equal passion for aviation and medicine.

She attends Vanderbilt University where she started a whole aviation club on campus that gives introductory flights to students.

Upon arrival we were given a rental car to share for our time in France. We were then brought to a student housing facility that was part of a local technical university in Tarbes. That was where we were going to live for our time in France. 

While in France, Riley and I worked under our own mentors who each assigned us a project related to our studies.

Riley’s project was to make an informational video for Daher aircraft owners about recognizing and treating hypoxia in the case of aircraft cabin depressurization.

As an aerospace engineering major, my project was to research companies developing electric propulsion aircraft.

For my project, I was required to use the specifications of the aircraft I researched and my engineering textbooks to justify the published maximum takeoff weight of the airplanes.

To cut to the chase, I found that the weights the companies were advertising were super optimistic.

The technology for an electric airliner will probably not exist for another ten years.

The office environment was very different from the United States.

What stood out in my mind the most was that I was obliged to shake the hand of every man and kiss both cheeks of every woman in the whole office at the start of each day.

I personally liked greeting every person each morning. Though it took several minutes before I could start working, I felt that getting the acknowledgement from everyone in the office was very uplifting.

Another big difference between working jobs in the United States versus France were the breaks.

We would take 15 to 20-minute mid-morning coffee breaks every day. Our lunch breaks would be well over an hour which was about twice the time I was used to having.

The extra time really allowed me time to eat slowly and to socialize with the other French interns and employees.

Tarbes is extremely different from most of the large European cities American tourists are used to.

It was very slow-paced with only a few nice places to hang out. Due to the non-existent flow of tourists in the city, the English speakers were few and far between downtown.

Thankfully, I had studied French for three years in high school and had been practicing with Duolingo leading up to the internship, so I was not completely lost!

I had loads of free time after work and during the weekends, and I certainly made the most of it! Several nights per week I would hang out with the other interns for drinks, movies, or dinner.

During the weekends I took the rental car on road trips discovering different parts of France and even venturing into Spain at one point!

The amount of aviation exposure I had was phenomenal. While I was in France, I toured the Airbus factory, visited some aviation museums and even got some flight experience!

My mentor one week flew me over the Pyrenees Mountains. I also got introductory flights in a sailplane and a paraglider.

Towards the end of my internship, I co-starred with Riley in one of the videos on Daher’s YouTube channel, “Daher TBM.”

In that video we reflected on our experiences in France. A lot of the footage we took during our travels was used in the video as well.

During the last week of my internship, Riley and I were sent to Oshkosh to help Daher run its company booth at the EAA Air Ventures.

At Oshkosh, I got to meet so many new people involved in aviation, many of whom were TBM owners.

They were all such fascinating people with a vast range of backgrounds from all over the world.

My time at Oshkosh really broadened my knowledge and appreciation of aviation history.

My internship was an immersive experience, both culturally and academically.

Living in a different country for a month, I learned a lot about French culture and language and made several lasting friendships.

I also had a very engaging project that taught me about the aviation industry and new developments in electric aircraft.

I got aviation exposure that I had only dreamed of having before.

To find out more about my time in France, visit my blog at [https://noalevoyageur.blogspot.com/].

Diversions

Food Review: Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

By: John Mills
Diversions Editor

Roasting vegetables is a nice way to change up your meals. Many vegetables are a good candidate for this treatment, but my absolute favorite has to be tomatoes.

Roasted tomatoes are a great accompaniment for any Italian-themed recipe, but partner well with any recipe that includes cooked tomatoes.

The recipe below is tailored for Italian-style recipes, but can be reworked for other recipes as well.

You will need: 

  • An oven 
  • An oven-safe dish of sufficient size to hold the number of tomatoes you plan to cook 
  • A reasonable number of tomatoes (2-4 is recommended) 
  • Olive oil 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • Minced garlic to taste 
  • Fresh or dried basil and oregano to taste 

To start, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the rack that the dish will go on to the highest position it will fit.

Next, take the oven-safe dish and coat the interior with olive oil. On a cutting board, slice all the tomatoes in half lengthwise, so that you cut the stem root in half.

Place the tomatoes face up in the dish and drizzle with additional olive oil. Coat the sliced tomato halves thoroughly with the oil that is already in the dish.

I suggest shaking the dish around for entertainment, but there are more effective ways of going about this.

Once the tomatoes are fully coated, apply salt, pepper, and herbs to taste.

Then, using a spoon, apply as much garlic as you like to the open sides of the tomatoes.

With the prep work done, place the dish into the pre-heated oven, and cook tomatoes for at least 15 minutes.

It is likely that more time will be required, but 15 minutes is the absolute minimum.

After 15 minutes, check every five until tomatoes are soft and pliable but not yet falling apart. Remove from oven and serve.

If serving with pasta, use seasoned olive oil left in dish to oil pasta or simply for extra flavor.

This has been one of my favorite recipes recently because it is so easy, tasty, and can be done alongside the rest of a meal very easily.

It pairs very well with rice, pasta, chicken, bacon, Italian sausage, or really anything else that works well with tomatoes and garlic.

The next time you’re looking to change up how you cook tomatoes, look into oven roasting them.

Diversions

Comic Book Review: Oblivion Song Volume 1

By: Steven Hicks
Correspondent

“Oblivion Song” is the newest series from writer Robert Kirkman. Kirkman is most famous for creating “The Walking Dead,” but this is a very different kind of story.

It’s clear from the opening pages that “Oblivion Song” is much more high concept, and by the end of the first volume it’s equally clear that Kirkman has a bit more of a structured plan for the narrative.

Much of the volume is spent explaining how the world of “Oblivion Song” came to be.

An event called the “Transference” caused a part of Philadelphia to be transposed into an alien world, and part of that alien world dropped into Philadelphia.

This world is the titular Oblivion, and protagonist Nathan is a scientist working to bring back the civilians who have now been trapped with the monsters of Oblivion for ten years.

However, with such a long time having passed since the Transference, many would rather pull the plug on Nathan’s operation.

For the most part, these characters would like to stop the rescues because they are, to put it simply, inconvenient.

This is a position to which the book seems oddly sympathetic. The position these characters express is essentially that it’s okay for people to keep suffering as long as nobody has to think about it.

The degree to which the reader is inclined to agree is going to have a major impact on how much they root for Nathan, who is in both attitude and action diametrically opposed to this out-of-sight, out-of-mind behavior.

Unfortunately, with so much of the volume dedicated to the admittedly strong world building, the only characters who make much of an impression are Nathan and Ed, a leader of survivors in Oblivion.

They stand out because of their distinctive attitudes toward the Transference and its aftermath.

Many of the other characters tend to blend together, none of them have very clear motives or goals, and they have about four recognizable personalities between them.

The art is simpler than might be expected of this type of setting. The creatures and environments are well designed without overloading the reader with extraneous detail.

It should also be noted that the book flows remarkably well.

Aside from one jarring and obvious end-of-issue cliffhanger, if feels like a continuous narrative, a quality that is all too rare in trade paperbacks.

This is largely down to the paneling work and the consistency of the art.

Overall, “Oblivion Song” is off to a promising start. There are a few problems, and future volumes have to make a stronger effort toward flushing out the principle cast.

However, the narrative and setting have a strong structure to work with, and Kirkman has proven time and again that he knows how to craft compelling characters given enough time.

Diversions

Campus Recap

By: Peter Partoza
Correspondent

On Tuesday, Sept. 25, the campus was treated to the sweet serenade of a saxophone.

An unnamed individual took it upon himself to travel the campus, belting out the notes from Wham!’s hit “Careless Whisper.”

The saxophonist walked around a bit while playing, but the truly defining part of their performance was their journey around Hunt Drive: standing in the back of a pick-up truck, playing their heart out, and almost immediately being pulled over by campus security.

Remember kids, it is unlawful to stand in the back of a moving vehicle.

If you really have to, at least get yourself a lawn chair, or lay in the bed of the truck while you cover the late and great George Michael.

Diversions

Personal Anecdote: A Chilly Experience

By: Mason Jones
Correspondent

I’ve has many…odd incidents in my life, but this one was probably the most questionable thing I’ve done so far.

This is a short story about how I was nearly caught hiding in a fridge in Mingus one Thursday night.

I was hanging out at a friend’s dorm playing cards against humanity, when I noticed their fridge was relatively empty.

Being the ditz I am, I removed some shelves and proceeded to shove myself into the fridge.

After a minute or so, I departed my frozen utopia, laughing and pulling out Snapchat on my phone to record the hilarity.

However, this wasn’t my final experience in the sport I like to call “fridge fitting.”

Next time, I made myself rather comfortable, tucking myself in, almost like I was under a blanket. 

The blanket was instead a metal and plastic box that was much colder than what I would have hoped for. This continued for about 5 minutes, popping in and out like a groundhog.

After spending the longest time so far, about 10 minutes, inside, I proceeded to open the door and try to exit.

I was hastily prompted to return to the fridge upon hearing the floor RA walk into the room.

Staying hidden in the fridge, I could overhear my friend’s conversation with the RA, who was checking in on us since we were laughing so obnoxiously loud.

Suddenly, my heart sank when I heard one of my friends mention “there’s nobody in the fridge.”

Of course, I held my breath, hoping to some deity that he misheard her. Someone up there must have heard my pleas, because the RA dismissed it and left.

Moments after I heard the door close, I whipped the door open, laughing in the warm air. I still think this was one of the funniest moments of college so far.

Diversions