Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Walking Dead Season Finale: AMC's Place For Diminishing Returns

Last night was the highly anticipated season finale of AMC's hit show The Walking Dead.  All throughout the season the show's main storyline revolved around the perennial zombie survivors led by Rick in their prison sanctuary faced a threat never before encountered in the increasingly dangerous and incredibly insane Governor and his band of Woodbury soldiers.

Let's do this.

 Tensions became more and more elevated over the episodes with Rick and Co. trying desperately to figure out a way to stop the oncoming attack from the more well armed and numerous residents of Woodbury.  This finale episode was primed to display their final showdown, and provide the battle that fans have been waiting for.  The result, like many many times before The Walking Dead provided not a fiery/exciting conclusion, but something more akin to an overblown balloon let fly, quickly cavorting around the room while it farts away all the air inside.

The season finale only further addressed the problems surrounding this show.  Problems that help to produce a show that often has characters who are so stupid as a service to help the weak plot, and a drawn out method of story telling that seems to capitalize on the dedicated fanbase of the show by drawing events out so far that they become ridiculous.

There will be spoilers from last night's episode, you are warned.

Before we talk about the problems with the show however, let's talk about what happened last night. Fans of the show tuned in overly excited to see the finale of the most impactful storyline the show has seen.  Instead of this anticipated showdown, fans were instead delivered an episode where again almost nothing of real value happened.

Sure no name red shirts died, and more red shirts moved from the town of Woodbury to the prison, but what really changed.  Andrea died, Milton died, but the Governor? Survived, and ridiculously so.  The prison? Everyone still lives there.  The showdown? Amounted to the Woodbury tough guys riding in and then when receiving the slightest measure of resistance, hightailing it like Usain Bolt on steroids right out of the place, without even anyone being shot at all.

They went there to essentially take the place over, and went so far as to bring not only heavily armed men but grenade launchers and mounted machine guns on trucks! What did they think was going to happen? That the prison dwellers were just going to stand there and let themselves all be murdered?  The whole show story line pretty much spelled out to the fans that this was gonna be it.  I guess the characters didn't realize it was the final fight yet.

Then came one of the most unintentionally hilarious moments that wouldn't be the last of the episode.  The survivors in the prison managed to hold off the Woodbury attackers after a battle of about five seconds, and what do they say?  We won! Oh wait, maybe we should go after them?


This is the second time this exact thing has happened, the Governor attacking and then running away after about three seconds and you doing nothing afterwards.  You have been talking about this fight all season, and it has all led up to this and you think you won?  Pretty sure that nobody even got shot, not even a close one! Maybe we should go after them?  Of course you should you idiots!  The whole point of this was for you to fight them and beat them!  That is bad writing. Just plain awful. A cheap ploy by the show runners to create false tension and then have a little bit of non-impactful action to keep you watching.

Let's move on to another unintentionally hilarious moment.  The Governor and his forces are proven to be incredibly ridiculous sissies as they run away after about 10 shots are fired their way, despite overwhelming numbers and firepower. After stopping down the road the Governor finds his makeshift army of regular folk unwilling to mount another attack against the threat of being shot.  So what does this hilariously mustache twirling type psychopath do to let out his anger?

Just in case you didn't know I have an eye patch to show I am mean!

He (single-handed) guns down about 30 people (who happen to be armed.)  Now I am not saying that someone should have shot him, in fact in the face of power many people often follow orders and are hesitant to challenge that authority, even when it means death.  I realize as well, that the people were mostly regular townsfolk that weren't too keen on killing.  However, I would bet money that each and everyone at home who watched that scene was saying to themselves:  "Why doesn't someone shoot this asshole?"  Why did no one shoot him?  Because he has to be around for season 4 of course!  So that the people who make this show can keep viewers coming back by teasing his death.  No one shot him, and the person who has been the whole impetus to this entire season is not even given a wrap up.  We left him there in his pickup truck and never see him again till October, I guess he drove off into the sunset?

This isn't the first time that this show has continued to use a theme to stretch out storylines to the point of ridiculousness (not to mention this season was broken up in two to make more money.)  Longtime fans of the show will remember the weekly lament of season 2 where the entirety of the show was spent on Herschel's farm, AKA the place where nothing happens.  It even became a running joke and internet meme, where fans campaigned to get the survivors off the farm.

Windmills, plentiful. Plot development, nowhere to be found.

Fans and critics alike rejoiced when finally after 10 episodes the survivors made it off the farm and some things that actually affected the characters happened.  Well really two things, Shane dying and the infamous "Ricktatorship" moment where Rick took charge.  Fans were even more happy with the change in scenery to the prison, and the addition of new characters and adversities.  However, it would not be long again before the show slid back into that seemingly inevitable rut.

 The Walking Dead is a show that has had numerous and well documented trouble on the production side, with not one but two showrunners being fired during production over creative disputes about the show and it's direction.  Furthermore were reports that filming season 3 had fell plague (no pun intended) to shutdowns on the set, over these disagreements.  Perhaps it is not a coincidence that a show that is unsure of where it wants to go creatively could spin it's wheels here and there to buy time to figure that out.  After all, not like that is an important thing to figure out, just that it IS THE WHOLE POINT OF TELLING A STORY.

The Walking Dead has been approved for now a fourth season, and is an increasingly interesting phenomenon.  A very rare, perhaps singular show in the fact that it is so popular amongst the audience and fanbase, yet so troubled behind the camera.  This show is not going anywhere soon, as it has become one of the most popular hits for the network, and is in good company with fellow network hits like Mad Men and Breaking Bad, commercially at least if not critically.

I am a fan of both the show and the comic book, and am going to stick around to see what is in store for Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and even the Governor.  I just sincerely hope that whatever it is, it doesn't take place after 15 more episodes on a farm somewhere.  Hey if anything though, the season finale gives way to the premiere of a real show....

No zombies here, just booze and adultery, and a whole lot of both.

What did you think dear reader?  Let your opinion be heard in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe, like and follow the blog if you like what you see. Or contact me on Twitter @LucasBlaine

Fundays: Where We Check Out Cool Stuff From The Internet

It's another one!  Welcome back to Funday, where together we check out the Internet stuff from this past week that was fun and enjoyable.  Got some great stuff this week so let's dive in shall we?  Get ready, get rowdy, and get loose.  This cat knows what I'm saying.

Party time.
Oh, also I think I am gonna switch up how we do this from now on.  A new layout of sorts, if you like it or even if you don't let me know in the comments.  We can work it out.  Instead of me thinking about many different titles for the various videos/articles I have to show you, I am gonna simplify it to Sounds for music, and Sights for everything else.  That is, except articles I may find (although I don't have any this week) will be under Reading.



Ty Dollar $ign

I already featured this guy in my Thursday music post, about the new wave of nontraditional R&B singers, but he just proved too good to forget.  Anyone who is ridiculous to have a dollar sign in their name is probably more than ridiculous in their music.  Ty, thankfully doesn't disappoint in this area, making songs like "For A Young" which is about stealing and fucking "yo bitch."  It is also an R&B song, which makes it better. I want to say I like this guy ironically, but I am starting to very much like how much conviction he puts into this hilarious material.


Earl Sweatshirt

Earl is the youngest member of increasingly popular west coast rap/fashion/singer collective known as Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All or simply Odd Future.  The group has been making waves all over the place from leader Tyler the Creators wild antics, to breakout star singer Frank Ocean's Grammy winning album release.  However, the youngest member has more than the potential to over shadow them all based on his talent on the microphone.  Earl Sweatshirt is one of the most incredibly talented rappers to have ever made a debut at 16, lyrically destroying your favorite rapper and establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with.


Robin Thicke

I want to be honest.  I want to say I included this song because I very much continue to enjoy Robin Thicke's blued eyed soul slathered voice.  Well that part is true, I do enjoy his music, and this new song is a great upbeat fun number with great features from Pharrell and T.I.  I want that to be the reason for including this video, but it is not the only one.  This video features naked women, and I happen to enjoy naked women.  There, I am honest.  It is also a great fun video that is pretty ballsy for putting it on YouTube.  If you hadn't figured it out already this video is very NSFW because of all the naked women.

Again, NSFW because of all the boobs.


Red Hot Nickle Ball Meets Chocolate Bunny

I mean, it is pretty much all there in the title.  Is this science?  I guess so, is it very fun to make things hot and/or on fire?  Most definitely. Hey it is the Internet, the haven for dumb stuff, but please don't try this.  Just watch it on here and enjoy it without terribly hurting yourself. You probably won't listen but I at least warned you. Happy Easter!


Quadrilateral Cowboy

I wrote about Brendon Chung's amazing new game on last week's Serious Saturday essay.  Despite having quite possibly the best title, this game allows you to use simple programming commands to hack into and infiltrate buildings, whether or not you know anything about programming code. Chung showed off a little bit of what you can do this past weekend at video game centric Penny Arcade Expo in Boston, to impressive results.  It will make you feel like a bad-ass, and the smartest woman/man alive when you type "" and are able to open a door to slide past with only the use of your fingers.


 Rap Quote Street Signs

Artist Jay Shells is tagging all the most famous, and infamous street locations with the quotes straight out of Hip Hop songs that made them so.  This is fucking awesome.


The Wolverine

I like to think I like many things that other people would find cool.  Maybe that is arrogant, but I can live with it.  I also like many things that I imagine not a great amount of people I know would think are cool, and that is totally okay as well.  One of these things is comics, and one of the characters in comics is Wolverine.  He is getting another solo movie, that this time perhaps won't be the fucking waste of time that was X-Men Origins:Wolverine, one of the stupidest movies I have had the displeasure to see.  This time Hugh Jackman is in Japan, and directed by James Mangold, who is a director that is talented and responsible for some great movies like Cop Land, Walk the Line, and 3:10 to Yuma. This is exciting.


Social Farting

Call me juvenile, call me low brow, to which I would say "Hey, why are you calling me names you dick?" (rimshot please.)  I am sorry but farts are funny, and using farts as a metaphor for smoking, is hilarious.  Good job Canada, keep up the good PSA work.

Funday Hall of Fame

Earl Sweatshirt

 I have so many people lined up for this Hall of Fame, but I had to get Earl in before anyone else.  Odd Future's face and de-facto leader Tyler the Creator dubbed Earl Sweatshirt the best young rapper of all time when he debuted as a member of the group at the age of 15.  With lyrical skills that Earl has displayed time and time again, his comparisons to a young Nas and frequent mention as a possible "one of the best" is continually being justified.  Earl Sweatshirt is already a monster of a rapper, incredibly and almost effortlessly talented, he will blow your damn mind.

What did you think dear reader?  Let your opinion be heard in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe, like and follow the blog if you like what you see. Or contact me on Twitter @LucasBlaine

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Serious Saturdays: There Is No Reason To Say I Don't Know

No more excuses, we live in a time and place where no longer is there a valid reason for being ignorant.  As you sit and read this blog from your tablet, laptop, desktop, or smartphone you literally have at your fingertips a wealth of knowledge and information that is unprecedented in the scope of human existence.  Literally almost anything that you would want to know or read about can be found in a matter of seconds, and almost always for free.  The Internet provides everyone who has access to it a truly amazing resource to learn and enrich the contents of your mind, it is up to you if you decided to harness it.

Consider this scenario, you happen to be watching HBO's popular series Boardwalk Empire, a show that features a setting in 1920's Prohibition era and although a fictional show, features real life characters like Al Capone. Perhaps you mind may wonder, and you would wonder when Prohibition was inacted and how long it lasted.  Or how Al Capone got his infamous scar. The answers to these questions, Prohibiton lasted from 1920-1933, and Capone received his scars when making an ill advised joke about a notorious gangster's sister, his face being cut up for the insult.  The answers to these questions, found in about 15 seconds, along with an encyclopedia's worth of information about the two subjects.

The ablility to educate and enrich one's own self is accessible in such an easy way, yet so many people choose not to harness it.  Rather than cure the affliction that is ignorance, people often instead choose to broadcast said ignorance to others through social media.  I have written before on Serious Saturday about young people and their tendencies to do just this, I referred to a certain incident at the Grammys where hundreds of young people told the world on Twitter about their ignorance.  Many people did not know who Paul McCartney was as he was performing, and instead of simply using their readily accessible wealth of knowledge, they chose to use that platform to broacast their stupidity.

Aside from merely educating ones self through reading online, the Internet provides an incredible wasy to experience the Earth around you.  To broaden one's horizons about the world that surrounds us all and help realize the unique lives and experiences of others who share this planet. Resources exist that allow you to see the world like never before, programs like Google Earth provide a window into the world that has never before been available to people, at no charge.  Take for example these poignant shots of Japan in the wake of the 2011 Fukishima earthquake disaster.  Forever archived for posterity by Google, they tell the story of what happened and leave an indelible mark on our consciousness and future.

The World Wide Web is an amazing tool that people should refuse to take for granted.  It has barely been around for one whole person's lifetime, and many twenty something people in fact still remember living before Internet.  It is a tool that for many people makes our lives easier, but can be used to enrich them as well.  I can only urge users to accept this wonderful luxury and use it not only for entertainment and convenience, but also for scholarly pursuits. You don't have to seek out knowledge but simply use this tool to be more well informed about things that matter to you.  If you can do that, you may find that possessing knowledge is a powerful tool, and the ability to do so is literally at your fingertips.

What did you think dear reader?  Let your opinion be heard in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe, like and follow the blog if you like what you see. Or contact me on Twitter @LucasBlaine

Friday, March 29, 2013

Forget Planking, Hadoukening Is Coming Straight Out Of Japan

More news from the best country in the world, where the entire population it seems makes it their daily mission to entertain me.  The latest trend sweeping the nation?  School girls taking pictures of themselves enacting moves from Street Fighter/Dragonball.

 Yes the trend started by school girls capturing the precise photos with friends is catching on and spreading through the nation.  Many teens are taking part in recreating popular moves from the fictional characters straight out of video games and television. One example, popular character Ryu's signature move, the "Hadouken" from Capcom's Street Fighter series which originally looks like this:

Then, renacted by teens becomes this:

Nailed it!

Also, the popular move used by Dragonball character Gohan called the Kamehameha is another topic of popularity among the teens.  Going from this:

Pretty much the same thing really.

To this:

Impressive vertical on these gals.
So forget about Planking, because you too can join in!  The trend is already spreading out of the country.  What will it be called, I put my vote in for "Hadoukening."

Thanks Japan, we are gonna run with this.

Here's a few more impressive shots.

What did you think dear reader?  Let your opinion be heard in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe, like and follow the blog if you like what you see. Or contact me on Twitter @LucasBlaine

Tons Of Work Goes Into Video Games Especially The Art

Video Games are difficult to make, and the larger the project the more people who contribute.  It can be fascinating looking into how many people and how many hours, not to mention dollars, goes into creating your favorite pieces of entertainment.  One company that spends a great deal of time and effort creating their products is industry darling Valve, who have built an impressive reputation with fans through dedication and adherence to a high level of quality.

One of the examples of this dedication to their product comes through the great art direction Valve has employed over the years, here are some great examples of their concept art.  Fans of the studio will instantly recognize some of the subjects, and non fans can simply appreciate the talent that went into creating such impressive pieces, most of which are never seen by the fans of the games they help create.

As originally posted on Kotaku, this art comes from Valve's game service Steam, which features like content under their community's Artists page.  As you can see, it is pretty great.

What did you think dear reader?  Let your opinion be heard in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe, like and follow the blog if you like what you see. Or contact me on Twitter @LucasBlaine

Thursday, March 28, 2013

It Is Thursday So Let's Talk About Music

What do you think of when you hear "R&B Singer?"  Is it perhaps Usher, spouting his affirmation of your love and undying need to stay together while cavorting around stage with fancy footwork?  Is it perpetual asshole Chris Brown squealing over a second rate EDM/Hip Hop mash-up beat while usually repeating a word like "Yeah" in differing pitches?  Is R&B becoming boring for you, or something that you think has been relegated to a place in between dance clubs and overly cliche love ballads?

Well you can rest easy, because there is a new trend in R&B where a handful of new school artists are producing a style of songs while sounding like traditional material simultaneously are changing the subject matter to a variety of darker fare.  These new singers are providing the same great vocals you may be accustomed to but over topics that involves not lamenting past relationships or professions of love, but tough street anthems based around slinging drugs, taking drugs, or casual dirty sex.  This injection of a little danger into R&B brings a fresh perspective and below are some of the more interesting artists right now poised to give the Pop stylings of singer/rappers everywhere a run for their money.  Dubbed by music journalists as indie R&B or PBR&B (Pabst Blue Ribbon R&B, named for the reported favorite beer of hipsters) this new indie direction of the music and its' rejection of traditional stylings and subject matter has injected a new excitement to the genre.

First up is The Weeknd.  Perhaps the most well known of the group, due to his recent signing of a reported massive deal to Universal Records, and one of the early adopters of this darker style.  The Weeknd is Abel Tesfaye, a Canadian singer who grew to prominence over the release of three mixtapes that drew the admiration and attention of high profile artists like Drake, who championed Tesfaye's early work on his first mixtape House of Balloons.  The Weeknd is known for his dark, atmospheric procutions, and slow tempo beats, where he showcases his powerful voice singing about a range of topics including casual drug use, material wealth, and partying.  There is a sense of sinsister excess in his voice and material, that is both exciting and almost a guilty pleasure.

The Weeknd's ode to strippers getting that money, "The Morning":

Next we have Harlem New York's Tim Vocals.  His smooth voice serves as an auditory contradiction to the realest shit type street subjects that encompass his music. Over last year's mixtape Live From Harlem he used beats from popular artists like Drake and Ne-Yo to produce some thug style anthems.  This year he will be releasing an EP of original material, that is after he gets out of jail after turning himself into the cops this February. Hopefully he will be able to find success in only singing about the streets he knows so well rather than be drawn further into them.

Here is Tim showcasing his ghetto drug chef skills with his velvety voice:

Kevin Gates is finally getting the success he knows he deserved, as the Baton Rouge native has released his hit single "Satellites" to much acclaim and increasingly difficult to attain radio play status. Gates has been honing his craft for the past 4 years, creating his serious and conscious anthems where he raps half and sings his own hooks.  Already being compared to the likes of Drake and Future, Gates provides a more unique lane, one that is more mature and emotionally emphatic.  He walks the line of somber and slick with songs that make you nod your head while also commanding you to think.

Here's Gate's new visual to "Sattelites" which is just getting airplay by MTV:

On the opposite side of the fence to Gates' serious street material comes the entertainingly styled Ty Dolla $ign.  To say the least Ty is a little less concerned about what is mature and adult, producing songs whose subject matter includes addressing such vital issues like "ice cold thievery of another man's woman," or asking tough questions like "how many girls could he possibly fit in his cabana?"  His material is so over the top in a surprisingly fun way.  This Los Angeles songwriter and producer is on the verge of blowing up after building a buzz off his mix-tape Beach House, whose standout song "My Cabana" was named Complex Magazine's #23 Best Song of 2012.  His potential as the next big pop/party guy is massive, and his drugged out music videos only help his case.

 Here is the aforementioned and irreverent "My Cabana":

All of these fellas are injecting their own little variations on R&B, providing a much needed spark of life into the increasingly overcrowded and EDM influencing of the genre.  Keep your eyes and ears open, you are gonna hear more from them soon.

What did you think dear reader?  Let your opinion be heard in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe, like and follow the blog if you like what you see. Or contact me on Twitter @LucasBlaine

Battlefield 4 Revealed By Electronic Arts

Last night video game publishing giant Electronic Arts unveiled the next installment in their increasingly popular first person shooter, Battlefield 4.  The 17 minute long demo showcased the stunning visuals, high paced action, and impressive evolution of the facial animations on their characters.

Yes that is all gameplay, and yes they began the trailer with Bonnie Tyler's hit "Total Eclipse of The Heart," an interesting musical choice to say the least.

Swedish developer DICE is touting the game as being developed in their new iteration of their popular Frostbite game engine.  Frostbite version 3 continues to provide impressive visual power, and if the trailer is any indication Battlefield 4 could possibly eclipse the still noteworthy level of graphical power evident in the previous Battlefield release.

Looking good so far...
DICE also is making a point to emphasize their development of characters that fans of the series can relate to and empathize with, as the characters in Battlefield 3 failed to emotionally affect many players.  Another goal for the single player campaign in Battlefield 4 is for the player to have more open freedom as seen in the trailer, a welcome divergence from the previous games linear style storytelling.

Details about the popular multiplayer aspect of the game are nil as of yet, except for the return of Premium subscription service and DICE's admission that the Battlelog will this time be implemented into the actual game.

Battlefield 4 is going to be released this fall on PC, Xbox 360, PS3, and most likely next generation consoles.

What did you think dear reader?  Let your opinion be heard in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe, like and follow the blog if you like what you see. Or contact me on Twitter @LucasBlaine

Konami Reveals Metal Gear Solid V Proving The Internet Is Smart

In another video game related news story, last night Metal Gear Solid V was officially announced by Konami.  Metal Gear producer Hideo Kojima took the stage at the annual Game Developer's Conference and showed a nearly six minute trailer that included a view of what might be in store for fan favorite character Snake.

The trailer opens with Snake in bad shape in a hospital bed, clinging to life.  It then goes on to showcase various strange apparitions and an attack on the hospital where a seemingly armless Snake has to fight his way out, which includes a ride on a horse with an unknown ally.  Much is left to speculation as the trailer unfolds, ending with the tagline "V has come to," and Snake sporting a new arm as well as a new affiliation with a group called "Diamond Dogs."


What isn't under speculation is the trailer's confirmation of many fans' frequent speculation surrounding Kojima's upcoming project before the subsequent reveal.  Kojima had previously released a trailer for a game entitled Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes footage from which the original trailer appeared in the new edition, confirming that Ground Zeroes was indeed MGS5.

What's more is the confirmation that the previously shrouded in mystery game that was titled The Phantom Pain is indeed a Metal Gear game.  Much discussion revolved around the announcement of The Phantom Pain trailer at the 2012 Spike TV Video Game Awards.  Sharp eyed fans immediately noticed that the studio supposedly behind the new game was possibly a fake one called Moby Dick Studios out of Sweden.  Further speculation revealed that the supposed studio head's name. Joakim Mogren was an anagram for Kojima.

Digging even further into the trailer revealed that the title card held a negative space above the letters which would fit perfectly with the words "Metal Gear Solid V."  This was confirmed last night when the very same title card this time included those words.

Going from this in the original, note the extra lines...

To this, featured in last night's trailer as confirmation.
Tricks like this aren't new to Kojima, who likes to have fun with his audience and the press.  The announcement of Metal Gear Solid 4 in 2005 tricked fans into thinking the game's perspective had been switched to first person from the usual third person style the series is known for.  Kojima also famously duped his fans and many media journalists with the release of Metal Gear Solid 2, when it was revealed the main character was a new one named Raiden, and not Snake, as all the press had people believing.  Even more recently, when Joakim Mogren gave an interview to Game Trailers TV, many people speculated Kojima was behind it all, apparently they were right.

Irregardless of Kojima's personal taste for tomfoolery, the Internet generally responded with both excitement and relief that their speculation on the Phantom Pain was confirmed.  Metal Gear Solid 5 was trending worldwide on Twitter shortly after news of the reveal hit, proving fans are excited for the new installment, which Kojima has commented will be a new direction for the series offering for the first time an open world experience.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has been confirmed for release on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC although many believe that next generation console versions are also on the way.  As of yet there has not been a date for release.

BONUS: Here are the original Ground Zeroes and Phantom Pain trailers for context.

Ground Zeroes:

The Phantom Pain:

What did you think dear reader?  Let your opinion be heard in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe, like and follow the blog if you like what you see. Or contact me on Twitter @LucasBlaine

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Downton Zombey Is Exactly What You Think Which Is Awesome

The phenomenon of stuffy British rich people, and the much less rich people who serve them on PBS's hit series Downton Abbey generally lends itself to pretty good parody.  Many have given the memorable characters of the show their own brand of funny re-imagining, Jimmy Fallon's funny and detailed Downton Sixbey...


 To the equally unique and hilarious Downton Arby's, which actual series creator Julian Fellowes dubbed his favorite of all the parodies.

However, today the Internet bestowed upon me my favorite of all the hilarious imitators.  Dubbed Downton Zombey, it includes quite a few of the things I love.  Those would be comics, funny things, Downton Abbey, and zombies.  Written by Rob Kutner and drawn by Kody Chamberlain, it is a great stylish addition to the already overflowing pot of parody stew.  Check it out for the shocking interruption of dinner by Matthew Crawler, yes he is a zombie.  Great art, funny dialogue, and a treat for fans of the show, enjoy!

Bonus: I had to include a cat parody version entitled Downton Tabby, because this is the Internet, and there is a cat version of everything.

What did you think dear reader?  Let your opinion be heard in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe, like and follow the blog if you like what you see. Or contact me on Twitter @LucasBlaine

Quietest Place On Earth Will Make You Lose Your Mind

It is nice for people to sometimes have some peace and quiet.  A general escape from the almost constant assault on our ears is often a welcome and much needed release.  However, can it be too quiet?  So quiet that you start to lose it?  Well apparently so, as scientists in Minnesota have created what Guinness World Records has dubbed "the quietest place on earth."  The results of this accomplishment provide some very interesting details in the effects it has on the human body.

Scientists at the Orfield Laboratory in Minneapolis Minnesota have created an anechoic chamber, an acoustic room constructed of 3.3-foot-thick fiberglass acoustic wedges, double walls of insulated steel and foot-thick concrete. This allows the room to be 99.9 percent sound absorbent, and the room has been rated at -9.4 dBA.  Any sounds below 0 decibles are unable to be heard by the human ear, this effect provides an environment where people inside the room can begin to hallucinate. Steven Orfield, the lab's founder and president described the experience:

"When it’s quiet, ears will adapt. The quieter the room, the more things you hear. You’ll hear your heart beating, sometimes you can hear your lungs, hear your stomach gurgling loudly. In the anechoic chamber, you become the sound.”

The longest time anyone has been able to spend in the chamber is 45 minutes, any more seems unbearable. This is an interesting experiment and shows how much humans rely on sound in our life. We rely on sound cues to help make sense of our environment, and when sound is completely removed it begins to affect our brain.  The brain cannot make sense of it, and begins to ostensibly freak out. Orfield notes that anyone in the chamber longer than 30 minutes needs a chair.

While the room could be used as a kind of sensory torture chamber, it was in fact created as a way for companies to test how loud their products are and measure sound quality of varying products.  NASA has also expressed interest in sending astronauts to the chamber to study it, as space is basically a much larger version of the chamber, as in a vacuum, their is an inability for sound waves to travel.  They have placed a water tank in the room to immerse the astronauts to experience the hallucinations, and figure out whether or not they could work through them.

I know what you are thinking, I want to try it out.  Me too.

What did you think dear reader?  Let your opinion be heard in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe, like and follow the blog if you like what you see. Or contact me on Twitter @LucasBlaine

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Scarlett Johansson Is Too Sexy For David Fincher And Other Behind The Scenes News

Will Smith could have been Neo.  Think about that for one second.  Yes, quite possibly the only thing that could make The Matrix better would have been to replace Mr "I am bad at acting" Reeves with the Fresh Prince. Would have been pretty cool right?  On the flip side, the first choice to play Indiana Jones, Tom Selleck.  Actually that might have been awesome too.

Which one of you dirty Nazis wants a mustache ride?

 What if movie casting stories can be fun to think about, giving the fans of film a fun insight into the work and speculation that goes into producing for the silver screen.  It gives you a little bit of behind the scenes knowledge, and a little bit more information for the inevitable bar night trivia question.  It can be incredibly interesting to learn what might have been, or to find out little bits that make the movies you love even more interesting.

For instance, when everybody's favorite character who loses their shit Hudson, as played by Bill Paxton utters his famous line "Game over man, game over" that whole thing was improvised.  Aliens director James Cameron just had the cameras rolling and told Paxton to be upset, and he came up with that incredibly overused little gem.

Some interesting behind the scenes information has recently surfaced about the 2011 film The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which was the American version of the first book in the wildly famous Swedish trilogy series written by Steig Larsson.  After all three books were made into Swedish films, America wanted a piece of the pie, and none other than director extraordinaire David Fincher took the project.  He eventually cast Daniel Craig and little known actress Rooney Mara in the main roles, but as it recently has been made public Mara had to fight hard for the role and was not the main choice.  The original choice for Lisbeth Salander, the fan favorite main character and genius hacker/social outcast/complete badass was none other than Scarlett Johansson.


 In an interview with Vogue, Fincher stated that he had considered Johansson, but had eventually decided against it.  He decided Johansson was too sexy for his vision of what Lisbeth's character would be in the film stating:

"We flew in people from New Zealand and Swaziland and all over the place,” he says. “Look, we saw some amazing people. Scarlett Johansson was great. It was a great audition, I’m telling you. But the thing with Scarlett is, you can’t wait for her to take her clothes off.”
 While being a man, as Fincher is, I cannot necessarily disagree.  Scarlett Johansson is definitely an incredibly beautiful and desirable woman.  However, this taken out of context sounds a little bit ridiculous.  Fincher would go on to clarify, trying not to sound like a adolescent horndog.

"I keep trying to explain this," he goes on. "Salander should be like E.T. If you put E.T. dolls out before anyone had seen the movie, they would say, ‘What is this little squishy thing?’ Well, you know what? When he hides under the table and he grabs the Reese’s Pieces, you love him! It has to be like that."
While I wouldn't necessarily describe Lisbeth Salander as squishy, I can see where he is coming from.  Lisbeth at first is meant to seem cold and calculating, and she definitely is.  However, as the audience spends time with her they embrace her as a great character.

Mara has stated before in interviews the extreme lengths she went to attain the role as Lisbeth, even undergoing the rather drastic transformation into the unique look of the character before she was cast to show her dedication.

Going from this..

To this...Lisbeth Salander
 Mara eventually won the part, and Fincher admitted he made the right choice.  Mara became her role and would "disappear" as Lisbeth.  Mara got her own apartment during the filming and got all the piercings and tattoos, learned to ride a motorcycle, and even learned to skateboard so that she would stand differently, the way Lisbeth would stand.

To their credit, it worked.  Mara received rave reviews for her great portrayal of Lisbeth, and her dedication showed in the film.  In a particularly disgusting and shocking rape scene in the film, the aftermath of which shows a bruised Lisbeth in the shower, Mara talked about how the bruises on her body were real from the rough filming.

While it is often fun to imagine what if scenarios, like Johansson as Salander or ol' mustache Selleck as Indiana.  You realize with a little research that the decisions of a film are often very calculated and every choice has weight behind it.  Knowing this can enhance your enjoyment of film, as any big fan may be apt to know more about what goes into their entertainment.  If anything, just continue to speculate what roles the Fresh Prince turned down, wait...he was going to be Django...son of a bitch!

What did you think dear reader?  Let your opinion be heard in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe, like and follow the blog if you like what you see. Or contact me on Twitter @LucasBlaine

Embrace Technology And Watch Your Favorite Show With Twitter Open You Won't Be Disappointed

Other than writing my weekly Fundays article on this blog Sundays mean one thing to me right now, Walking Dead night.  Like the many other millions of fans drawn each week to the horror focused show, I eagerly await 9PM to check back in with Rick and company in morbid fascination to see what events will befall the currently prison dwelling folks.

Don't worry about spoilers in this article, unless you count the notion that "The Walking Dead has crazy things happening in it" a spoiler.  

Hint: It is usually something bad.

 I am a longtime fan of the comic series that the show is based on and at times still cannot believe that not only does a zombie filled horror themed post apocalyptic show like this exist, but has acquired such a diverse and dedicated fan base.  This widespread acceptance of something that until a few years ago only a select population of comic book fans knew about is a point of pride and one of the major reasons I enjoy the show so much.  The other increasingly entertaining reason that I tune back religiously is to watch the show with my Twitter feed up and filtering tweets to #thewalkingdead.

Due to the popularity of the show, every week The Walking Dead is a trending topic on the social media platform, with literally hundreds of tweets posted per minute.  As usual with a trending topic, the users of the "twitterverse" provide hilarious commentary and insight into the show as it unfolds in real time.   I have continued to enjoy watching the show this way and would encourage others to take part, it enhances the experience in a very entertaining way, while also providing the added benefit of something to do other than watching commercials. 

As I have made clear in the past, I regard Twitter as the most exciting and entertaining social media network so far.  It's constantly razor sharp wit consciousness and up to the second timeliness on almost any issue provides users with an amazing perspective, the ability to share in the moment the reactions of often thousands of people to one event.  In this case a basic cable television show, that provides it's share of shocking moments and sometimes unintentionally hilarious moments.

It has become a regular routine to continually scan the feed as events unfold and often find myself laughing out loud to the funny interjections and interpretations of a show that is so often very self serious and somber in tone.  For example, this past Sunday's episode aptly entitled "The Sorrowful Life" included a rather shocking ending prompting one user to tweet:

"My face after tonights #thewalkingdead"  Which included the following picture for explanation.

Another great way Twitter helps enhance the viewing experience for me is the way you can see how many people's reactions to certain scenes often mirror your own, and in the same breath many people react often in surprisingly different ways.  For instance a certain scene from this past Sunday's episode featured venerable "badguy" actor Michael Rooker's character of Merle, a love to hate facet of the show for many fans. Merle took a spotlight for the episode, including a scene where he finally finds a voraciously sought after bottle of liquor, and shares a moment drinking in a car surrounded by zombies while listening to Motorhead.  Going so far as to place the bottle to the windshield where a snarling zombie face attempts to drink prompting Merle to chuckle.

Just in case you didn't know, Merle is Michael Rooker, he is gangsta as Hell!

 It was a great moment and one that made me laugh alongside the man who on the show has until this episode been at times portrayed as a mustache twirling type of over the top villain.  It made me happy to see others on Twitter elicit the same reaction as I had, at the same time seeing many continue to express their justified hatred of the character.  Even more interestingly, in the shocking conclusion to the episode, which without spoiling anything included an out of character moment for Merle, Twitter came together in sentiment, with many folks expressing their shared emotional reaction.

 In our amazingly technologically focused society, people continue to take in media in new and often exciting ways, with direct downloading of new movies and the popular culture of streaming video and DVR tech.  I think it is so interesting how generations continue to iterate and evolve how we as a culture receive entertainment, and watching television in the moment with Twitter live has quickly become one of my favorite ways to enjoy my entertainment.  Again, I thoroughly encourage others to try it out, it can be as passive as you want or as active, you too can add your tweets and thoughts for others to see.  Think of it as a social experiment, and you have no excuse because above all it is free, and if you don't have a Twitter for Christ's sake get one.  I will follow you!

What did you think dear reader?  Let your opinion be heard in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe, like and follow the blog if you like what you see. Or contact me on Twitter @LucasBlaine


Monday, March 25, 2013

Basketball Minute: March Madness Indeed

March Madness turned into March insanity last night when the annual NCAA basketball tournament, which is usually known for exciting upsets and Cinderella long shot teams, perhaps proved this year to be one of the most exciting in years.  This year's tournament has shown that indeed anything can happen as high seeded schools with popular programs the likes of Gonzaga, Georgetown, and Kansas State can have their hopes dashed so quickly.  The real story however is not the elimination of these schools but in fact the rise of unlikely candidates making tournament history, while simultaneously ruining everyone's bracket hopes.

Let's the hell with it!

Last night one particular 15th ranked school proved that the number in front of their team on the bracket does not a level of talent make.  Fifteen seed little known Florida Gulf Coast University continued their run for the big win defeating San Diego State 81-71, to secure the first time their young school has made it to the Sweet Sixteen.  They got to this game by previously upsetting second seeded Georgetown in an exciting upset.  Quickly becoming the most exciting story in the tournament, not only did they win but they made it look easy.

Led by the impressively talented and impressively dreadlocked guard Sherwood Brown, the eagles showcased a talented team of fast paced, confident players who have enforced further the ideal that with enough talent and determination anything is possible on the basketball court.  Despite the perceived strength of the school, or the storied nature of a program.  The eagles have proven this and made every basketball fan forever remember these four letters, FGCU.

He can do it all, and aren't those dreads crisp!?!

The sky is the limit for the young school which only started admitting students in 1997.  With FGCU only being eligible for the tournament for one year before this year's impressive debut.  This debut proved to begin in earnest when FGCU shocked the nation by beating Georgetown last Friday and taking a 21-2 scoring run in the second half of the game.  The eagles continued this pattern last night taking San Diego State to a 17-0 run in last night's second half.

Celebration and elation swept over the passionate players after the game, soaking their coach with bottles of water and seemingly any liquid that could be found in the locker room.  The emotion could be felt from home, for these young men securing and living their dream of tournament success.  Next up for  FGCU?  They take on their fellow Floridians when the boys from Fort Meyers take on the Florida Gators in what is sure to be the game to watch this upcoming Friday.

What did you think dear reader?  Let your opinion be heard in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe, like and follow the blog if you like what you see. Or contact me on Twitter @LucasBlaine

Incredible Art Can Be Created Anywhere Even In Minecraft

Minecraft is somewhat of a divisive game among people, some people just cannot get over the fact that you have total freedom, they want a more directed, goal oriented gaming experience.  Others, millions in fact, embrace the idea of an endless virtual set of building blocks, where given enough time one can create whatever they want.

I mean, anything you want.

 Thousands of hours have been dedicated by would be architects, patiently putting together block by block, one at a time, to create some amazing things.  Withe the ever evolving nature of the game, whereby new tools and building materials are continually added, the collective mind of the Minecraft player has produced a working calculator, incredibly detailed scale models of famous cities, and any famous landmark you can name, fictional or otherwise.

However, sometimes the incredible innovations of the past can be put to shame with the latest unbelievable concoction, straight out of the depths of imagination.  The latest virtual wonder combines the twitsts and turns of a virtual rollercoaster with one of the most uniquely visual movies of the 80's.  What's that movie you may ask?

I don't know what else came out in 1988, but this was the best movie regardless.

YouTuber nuropsych1 and his team, playing on the XBox 360 version of the game, spent two months working on this project.  With no further adieu, here it is.

For those who have perhaps never played the game, note at the beginning every little block you see, all placed one by one.  This is a broad estimation, but there are thousands upon thousands of blocks that make up this creation.  Also, to compare, I have trouble building a simple house in the game. Pretty incredible.

What did you think dear reader?  Let your opinion be heard in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe, like and follow the blog if you like what you see. Or contact me on Twitter @LucasBlaine

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fundays: Where I Show You Cool Things On The Internet

Welcome back you Internet fiends.  Calm down, we got good stuff to give you your fix for the week you dirty junkies.  In all seriousness though, thanks for joining in on another Funday, where we check out cool stuff from the past week that was on the Internet.  Sit back and get that mouse cursor ready, because all you need to do is click.  Are you ready to join us Grumpy Cat as imagined by Van Gogh?

Ok, well we will soldier on without you then!

This week I decided in honor of SXSW (South by Southwest festival for you ignorant folks) ending, I should just do an all music edition of Funday Sunday.  Austin Texas' popular festival is basically an incredible place to not only see popular music, but to discover incredible new stuff you have never heard about, so this Funday will try to emulate that atmosphere in blog form. Don't worry, next week will be back to music and other cool stuff, but this week just had too many good tunes to check out.  Also, I really just wanted to be able to work in a picture of Andrew WK and Action Bronson eating hot wings together during SXSW.

Probably gonna put this on a T-shirt.



It is no secret that I am a big fan of this guy.  He is underrated, and when many people say that about rappers they are often wrong.  However when they say it in reference to Yelawolf, they are totally right.  Yela is making a big comeback this year off the strength of his brand new mixtape Trunk Muzik Returns, which is probably the only album that spells music with a "z" that I can legitimately say I enjoy.


Vampire Weekend

I shouldn't like this band.  They seem like the most hipster, Williamsburg living, American Spirit smoking, PBR drinking assholes that are now more of a walking stereotype than anything else.  I know that it is shallow to not like a band based on what they look like, but hey sometimes you gotta make a snap judgment.  God Dammit though if I don't not only look past all that with these guys, but  love their music.  It is just good.


Ghost B.C.

Ghost BC is a metal band from Sweden.  Their singer dresses up as what can only be described as a "skeleton Pope."  What more do you want?  They are fucking awesome.



Rustie is a cool dude who makes electronic music,  this music is entertaining.  It is almost the kind of thing that you would imagine if someone said the words to you "house mixed with dubstep" but not in a bad way.  I want to see Rustie live, because I bet you money it would be a whole hell of a lot of fun.



If I had to make a guess of a handful of things that would make a great house music group, I would say they need these three criteria.  One, be a duo, usually guys.  Two, be very talented at making house music.  Three, be from France.  Normally, in the case of Daft Punk and Justice, I would be right.  However, in the case of Disclosure I would be wrong, because they are from England.  Two out of three isn't bad, in fact in the case of Disclosure geography does not matter.

Flying Lotus

What kind of music would you guess that the great-nephew of John Coltraine would make?  Super cool, complicated Hip Hop, or how about trippy layered instrumental music? Did you guess both? You nailed it! This guy is so cool he recorded as the popular Captain Murphy which nobody even knew the identity of until he unveiled his alter rapper identity.  He is one of the guys I would make people who don't like Hip Hop (aka assholes) listen to, and that is a short list.


Pop music somehow can be a dirty word to some people.  They instantly associate it with things they don't like, Britney Spears, for example.  To those people I would say, "Don't be an asshole, pop music is good."  Pop music can be up tempo wiggle inducing rock music made by three guys from Scotland who named their band Paws.  Their album is called Cokefloats! for Christ's sake, just listen to it already.



This guy's name is 100s, and he makes songs with titles like "Brick $ell Phone" from a mixtape called Ice Cold Perm.  What more could you possibly fucking want?


I remember watching Garbage perform on SNL a while back with my father.  He asked me the name of the band when I told him he replied, "That sure is fitting, because that is what they are, especially that singer."  So naturally, I then thought Shirley Manson was the coolest.  What if you multiplied her into four women, and then had them make a post-punk band, well then you would have Savages.

That's It!

We did it!  Sorry kids but no Hall of Fame this week, so just like a modern day little league game, everyone wins!  Make sure to check out last week's  Funday, and stay tuned for next week.  Until then enjoy these dope ass jams and keep reading the blog.

What did you think dear reader?  Let your opinion be heard in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe, like and follow the blog if you like what you see. Or contact me on Twitter @LucasBlaine


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Serious Saturday: Video Games Never Let Me Down

Video games are my favorite hobby, but I'll be damned if sometimes they don't let me down in a big way.  The almost constant assault of violent games in popular society often paints my television screen in a virtual swath of scarlet red.  It can be so disheartening when it seems as if a type of entertainment I was introduced to by a certain loveable jolly Italian plumber, has been taken over by a stereotypical muscle bound soldier type.

A little less of this please.

However, although it seems whenever my spirits are trampled by the same grey battleground after grey battleground, another game often comes along that not only restores my faith, but reaffirms why I love video games so much.  They show me once again that innovation will never die as long as there are people who want something different from the mainstream.  That no matter how many games you have played, there can always be a new idea, a new way experience for the gamer to enjoy.

Just when I thought the Call of Duty and Battlefield games had made me so fed up with games, I found out about a man who is just the kind of innovator that I needed.  His name is Brendon Chung, and he has made some of the most original and just plain delightful games I have ever played.

Brendon Chung is the founder of Blendo Games, and last year I like many people stumbled onto his games through the news of his increasing popularity.  People were talking about two of his games Gravity Bone and Thirty Flights of Loving.  Little did I know how much of a treat I would be in for, these two games together can be completed in under one hour, but have stuck with me in a more meaningful way than games that have lasted 20 times that length.

In describing Gravity Bone and it's spiritual sequel Thirty Flights, they may seem like any other cliche game subject.  It is a first person perspective game where you portray a unnamed spy who must complete rather simple missions like delivering a message while disguised as a waiter at a party.  However it is the way that they present this idea that makes it so wonderful to me. They create a vibrant and colorful world filled with a unique simple art style.  The blocky people who speak in Charlie Brown's teacher style of "blah blah blah blah" cadences.  It must be seen to understand, and here is the beginning of Gravity Bone:


That party, the hilarious way that the characters walk, the music.  It all comes together in such a vibrant and delightful way.  It is not just the world though that makes these games so interesting to me, but also the way they tell you the story, giving the player credit to figure out what is going on.

The emergent storytelling feels so refreshing in a medium that is so often criticized by the way it tells a story.  Too many games force the player through exposition in a drawn out cutscene or layer it on in the beginning as a kind of information dump. The story is so often painstakingly laid out to the player in such a way that they feel like they may not even possess any agency in it, that they are simply being dragged along so that the storyline can finish itself.

Blendo Games in the easiest sense reject this type of story telling.  From the very beginning of Gravity Bone and Thirty Flights of Loving the player is placed right into the action.  In the video above you only figure out you must be some type of spy when you eventually realize you need to sneak in with the waiter and put on the uniform that is left for you.  How do you even figure out to do that much?  By exploring and often finding the objective by surprise much like the player in the video did.  Brendon Chung has repeatedly spoken about his desire for the player to figure things out on their own, this is including the story, and he would rather them not understand it than spell everything out for them.  Some people may not like this focus for a game, I adore it.

That kind of attitude enforces my love for the incredible imagination that can be found in creating video games and interactive entertainment.  Reminding me that there is so much out there other than the drab virtual battlefields, and the wonder I experienced back on the Nintendo with Mario, continues to and will always exist for gamers as long as there are video games.  And as long as their are video games there will always be people like Brendon Chung and companies like Blendo Games.

Blendo Games is still at work trying to deliver experiences that are truly unique and most of all fun.  Their next game Quadrilateral Cowboy (best game title ever) is due to be released this year.  It is a game focused around hacking and continues to use their incredible style and atmosphere.  The debut trailer is below, enjoy.

What did you think dear reader?  Let your opinion be heard in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe, like and follow the blog if you like what you see. Or contact me on Twitter @LucasBlaine

Friday, March 22, 2013

Russian Office Life Is Hard As Shown In Amazing Video

In another example of countries other than America doing awesome things.  An incredibly cool video hit the Internet today, courtesy of Russia.  Entitled "Bad Motherfucker," it is a high octane first person shot video of a man in a suit going nuts on everyone trying to obtain a strange teleportation device. Or as I like to think of it, a regular day in Russia, where everyone is so tough, they put Teddy Roosevelt to shame.

Believe me, that is quite a feat.

The video in question, which is below, features crazy violence, girls in bikinis, a fast paced car chase, and even a kitten.  Basically everything you could want.  The best part?  The video title in Russian is known as "Perfectly Ordinary Office Skedaddle,"  because of course it is right?

This video only continues to keep up my Russian's are badasses stereotype, as this seems like a regular day for our faceless protagonist. I like to think it is their version of attempting to make a Russian Wallstreet, or Glengarry Glen Ross. Keep it up you crazy Ivans, see you next time.

What did you think dear reader?  Let your opinion be heard in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe, like and follow the blog if you like what you see. Or contact me on Twitter @LucasBlaine

Kid President Will Make Your Heart Hurt With Cuteness And Your Stomach Ache With Laughter

It is clear that the Internet is a wonderful bounty to those who choose to spend large portions of their day seeking out amazing, hilarious, cute, or interesting things.  From Keyboard Cat, to Riff Raff, the web has provided so many memes and viral sensations over the years that have just plain made people's lives better.  The newest, and most adorable one right now is currently making my life so much more enjoyable.  Ladies and gentlemen, Kid President.

Well, now that your day has just been made exponentially better, let's talk about Kid President.  Is he the President of kids?  Is he the President who is a kid?  I don't know the answers to these questions, but what I do know is that this little boy is probably the cutest most incredibly funny and charismatic people on the Internet.

Kid President is Robbie Novak, a ten year old motivational speaker and Internet sensation.  He collaborates with online media outlet Soul Pancake to make weekly videos, which are inspiring, funny, and above all insightful when Kid President challenges you by asking "What will be your Space Jam?"  What will be my Space Jam indeed?  Because if we all can succeed in making something as awesome as Space Jam, obviously the world will be a much better place.  He also tackles tough kid issues like how to properly pronounce diabetes, or how to write a letter to Santa.

Kid President is on his mission to make the world less boring, and by virtue of his existence, he has already succeeded so far.  When so many people are becoming so snarky and constantly negative about everything online, it is so refreshing to have such a young kid be so happy and upbeat.  It lets me know that not everyone online is a cynical jerk, and sometimes, I need that reminder.

We salute you Kid President, you have my vote!

Bonus: Here is Kid President picking his March Madness Bracket. Spoiler: It is delightful.

What did you think dear reader?  Let your opinion be heard in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe, like and follow the blog if you like what you see. Or contact me on Twitter @LucasBlaine