Tuesday, April 30, 2013

GTA V New Trailers Will Hi-Jack Your Attention

Earlier today Rockstar Games premiered three new trailers for their highly  anticipated game Grand Theft Auto V.  Rockstar, one of the most popular game developers, has sold millions upon millions of the critically acclaimed series and this September 17th the next chapter in the saga takes the player back to fictional California like Los Santos.  In the new game the player will follow three distinct characters as they come together to pull off some crime (a first for the series.)


Although the company has already released a trailer that focuses on the storyline, today the company opted to take a closer look at the three protagonists. They each get their own focus in a short but entertaining piece of video that shows off an impressive looking world with Rockstar's unique flair for cinematography, great use of music, and cinematic storytelling.

First we have Michael, who finds himself unhappy in the lap of luxury.  Michael is the epitome of a crook who made it out safe, only to find himself unhappy despite getting everything he always dreamed of.  Instead of being the loving father and husband he yearned to be he finds himself in therapy, in the middle of a midlife crisis. His kids resent him, and his wife ignores him, looks like a return to his glory days are in order.




Next up is Franklin, who is the antithesis of Michael.  Franklin is still very much absorbed in the crime lifestyle and himself is working toward the kind of lifestyle that Michael has already achieved. Rockstar has already indicated that however their paths end up crossing, Michael will be the mentor to Franklin as he is the son that Michael always wanted.  One who will follow in his dubious footsteps.




Finally we have Trevor, who can best be described as the "wildcard" of the trio.  A former military man who left service with some very intact psychological ailments, he is a pilot, hillbilly, and general loose cannon to say the least.  Michael and Trevor are old friends and while Michael in the years since their parting has retreated to the lush Vinewood Hills (can you say Beverly Hills?) Trevor has taken a decidedly different route.  Shacked up in the desert in a trailer park, Trevor looks to provide the trademark comedic angle that keeps every GTA game from being too dark a parable.




Overall the game looks to be shaping up into another incredible release from one of the most highly regarded developers in the business.  Rockstar has always taken great care in their games, polishing and enhancing every little tiny detail and almost always to great success.  It looks as if with this new installment of their flagship series they intend to keep that trend of accomplishment continuing. September cannot come soon enough.

Included below is a group of all three trailers together, and the original announcement trailer for the game.

Mashup:




Original Trailer:


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

Even Hideo Kojima Loves Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling is so hot right now. Aside from being one of the most popular sought after actors currently, the young movie star is a hit with the ladies/men who find his looks to be another strong selling point.  Since his breakout role in lady movie spectacular The Notebook, and following roles in Drive and the recently released The Place Between the Pines he has flexed his acting muscles. He seems to be the perfect star, as women will flock just to look at him and men actually enjoy the movies he is in. Hell, he even has his own meme, now that is success.

Hey girl, indeed.
So we know that everybody loves him, but recently an important famous person from the games industry has through the wonder of social networking, expressed his admiration for Gosling.  That man is Hideo Kojima, the creator of massively popular video game series Metal Gear Solid. Many assumed that Kojima was clearly a fan when he was pictured in the iconic jacket that Gosling wore in Drive a couple of years ago, but now Kojima has ramped up his admiration into a desire to cast the star in one of his new projects.

After viewing Gosling's latest flick Place Beyond the Pines, Kojima took to Twitter to speak about both the movie and gosling:

"Place Beyond The Pines". In the long one shot at the beginning, Ryan Gosling was sooo cool. Makes me wanna buy a red leather jacket. lol

He went on to express his desire to cast Gosling and a certain other fan favorite actor, this time from a popular television show. Everybody's favorite zombie killing southern crossbow wielder, Norman Reedus.  Kojima apparently has zombies on his mind as he also commented on the genre.

"I want to do 3D capture Ryan Gosling and Norman Reedus and make game with them."

"Want to make a genuine zombie game."
 Kojima is known for making crazy material, and his most famous character (Solid Snake) is a pretty close match to the grizzled loner type that both Gosling and Reedus play in their respective projects. Video game fans have been pining for the unique mind of Kojima to be free of the MGS series and finally make a new intellectual property.  Here's to hoping that every time Gosling kills a zombie with something blunt and brutal, he whispers "Hey girl" in it's ear before he takes his blow.


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, April 29, 2013

Game of Thrones Recap: Fiery swords and Ashen Pasts Abound

Holy flaming swords! Last week we got an incredibly exciting ending to an episode and this week the people of Westeros started the hour off with the fight we were teased about last time. However, what made this week's episode great was not the clashing of steel but the quiet moments shared between our characters.  One thing that makes this show so great is the ability to convey to the viewer a dense sense of history to the world that all the people inhabit.  Not one episode will pass without someone mentioning the old days, whether in a fond yearning, or a harrowing reminder. The past looms large in this world, and the memory of great heroes lives hand in hand with the terrible remembrance of the will of tyrants and conquerors on both sides of the various conflicts. This week's episode was a distinct focus on the past deeds of our characters, with many characters reflecting on their lives and what their actions have sewed for them.

The Hound's past is literally on trial as he engages Beric and his flaming sword in a trial by combat. After a brief but exciting duel, Clegaine proves victorious and Beric falls, only to be revived by Thoros and his Lord of Light much to the surprise of Arya. Unhappy with this form of justice she tries to finish off the Hound as he recovers from the battle, only to be rebuked her memory of the pain he has caused her family almost too much to bear. He takes his weapons and leaves, Arya again denied her own justice as she is forced to remain with The Brotherhood for now.

I got ya bro. Sword through your chest, no problem.

She is devastated when Gendry decides to stay on with the men as their new smith. All he can do is remind Arya that for his whole life he had been beholden to someone, and now he has a chance to be truly free he must take it. It is a tender moment when Arya tells him "I'll be your family." To which he replies "You'll be my lady," and as much as Arya doesn't want to believe it she knows it is true.  She will leave her last friend and continue alone on her journey.

Next we are back with Jaime and Brienne for their deliverance to Lord Bolton, who in a turn of character show them a measure of kindness by allowing them food and a bath. Mentioning to Jaimie the siege of Blackwater Bay and that his sister is still alive. Bolton chastises his men for making Jaime wear his severed hand and sends him to the maester for treatment. We see Jaime endure the painful treatment of his arm, refusing milk of the poppy.  However the most poignant scene is when he joins Brienne in the baths.  He completely opens up to her and recounts the horrible times of King Robert's rebellion, and his side of the story behind his "Kingslayer" title.  He gives a heart-wrenching monologue about the Mad King's obsession with Wild Fire and burning his subjects.

When the city was being sacked the King asked Jamie, his guard to bring him his father's head and to burn the city killing thousands of innocents. In turn Jamie did the only thing he could, and drove his sword through his King's back. Even for someone who hasn't read the books (like me) this moment was a long time coming and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau really flexed his acting chops here. The storyline of Jamie so far has been one of the most fascinating in the entire show. Sitting there in the bath recounting his past, you cannot help but feel for his plight, and ask yourself what you would have done. When Brienne asks him why he never told his side of the story he reminds her that the victors (Ned and Robert) paint the history, and that their honor wouldn't even allow his voice to be heard. Since that day he has lived with his past in constant reminder the victim of many insults, but he can only believe that what he did was the only option.

Who ever thought this guy would be a sympathetic character.

Finally, we see the man who yearns perhaps most of all for the past glory of his family, and resents the failures he sees in his children as sullying the most important thing they share, their name.  Tywin plots to marry Tyrion to Sansa to keep her in the city as if her brother dies she will be the key to ruling the north.  This proposition, needless to say Tyrion is very upset by.  Cersei is smug in her triumph over Tyrion in helping the planning, that is until Tywin instructs her too that she will be remarried.  An idea she cannot bear.  As powerful and intelligent as both Tyrion and Cersei are, they still bend to the iron will of their patriarch.  Tywin remembers his history, and again shows us why he is so powerful and cunning, he was built that way.

Ultimately, we have another good episode. The amount of recollection and reflection about mostly awful things gives us a view into what motivates and challenges these various characters.  Like other great shows, you sense that the past experiences of these characters have built and honed them into the people they are today. Even in the things they don't mention, you have a sense that there is so much more that has happened before the setting of our show that has eroded and evolved their world like a river cutting a canyon out of earth. Whether they view the past as their fleeting time of glory, or use it as a reminder of their mistakes, each strong character never forgets.  Just as Arya chants her list of those who wronged her out loud every night, each character has the mantra of their past that they endure within themselves.

Here's a few other notes:

  • Things are going even worse for Robb, and the execution of one of his Lords will probably prove more significant than just the loss of their part of his army.  He is losing the war, and day by day he comes more to terms with it.
  • Arya's scene with Thoros and Beric around the fire was touching. She asks Thoros if he could bring back her father, and even though he would like to he tells her that it doesn't work that way.
  • Stannis is perhaps worried about he man he is becoming, when his own wife doesn't even want him to see his disfigured daughter.  The guilt he feels he wears on his sleeve.
  • Jon Snow finally got some much deserved booty! Despite the fact that he might have to go kill all of his brothers in The Night's Watch. Go ahead Jon, Ygritte is a babe, you deserve it.
  • Stannis' preserved fetuses in jars....gross.
That's it for this week, check back in next week for another recap!


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

Mad Men Recap: The Flood That Washes Over All

"He was a good talker, I thought that is what would save him. I guess I was wrong." Strong word choice for Roger to tell Don of all people, and even though the sentiment was meant for Martin Luther King Jr. it still weighs heavily on a man that uses his lies and manipulation to move in an unforgiving world.  This episode, aptly entitled "The Flood" provided a somber hour in which the people of SCDP reacted all in their own way to the tragic death of King, and how his death inevitably made them re-evaluate their own respective lives. This is an episode that many fans have been waiting for.  finally the time when Mad Men would have a whole hour dedicated to not only civil rights but one of the countries' most enduring tragedies.

We begin with Don and Megan on their way to another ad awards show, this time with former employee Megan up for an award for her work on the former client Heinz beans. On their way out the meet the good doctor and Sylvia who are themselves on their way to Washington for a conference, a trip that would prove to be important given the following events.


The event begins playfully enough, with everyone excited for the guest speech from none other than Paul Newman (sorry had to mention that, him being my all time favorite actor.) Megan meets up with Peggy and shares congratulations, Peggy seems unsure around her peers. Especially when Ted tells her he knows she already didn't win. Could Peggy be on a path back to SCDP? Perhaps.

SCDP is seated in the back of the venue, as to display their prominence among peers which seemingly isn't held in high regard.  Joan's putting on her glasses when Newman takes the stage was adorable and so was her remark that she "needed binoculars."

However, things take a tragic turn when the group learns of the assassination of Dr. King.  We see the reactions wash over the crowd, and it is a powerful moment where we get an all too seldom look at a real world event affecting the lives of characters who at times can seem so insulated. The event affects everyone in their own way, given each of their respectively varying personalities.

Pete wants to be closer to his family in a rather seldom moment of humanity.  However when his advances to Trudy are firmly buffed he decides to turn his feelings into anger. He attacks Harry in a terrible person fight where of course Harry in the end wins.  His lamenting of advertising revenue due to the television station's suspension of coverage sets Pete off who can only compare MLK's death to his loss of family. Joan, usually so socially adept gives an akward display of white guilt to Dawn when she shows up for work. Eventually the day of work is suspended.

With Henry off working behind the mayor all Betty can do is chastise Bobby for turning his feelings into destruction of his wallpaper and guilt Don into coming to take the kids off her hands.  She uses the moment to push Henry's career forward, and if anything at least Betty is always the constant to the show.  Although her behavior may be erratic, we can always count on it to be that.

When Megan cannot be cooped up any longer she decides to take the kids out to a vigil.  However Bobby again acts out and pretends illness, his young mind unable to cope with the feelings he is experiencing.  Of course Don uses this as his way to escape as well, the father following the son.

Don escapes to take Bobby to a movie instead of dealing with the event that so obviously has affected him and his family.  Their choice of film? Planet of the Apes, which is an interesting case of not so subtle symbolism, as the father and son watch Charlton Heston curse those who destroyed America while all around the movie theater it seems that America is indeed cursed. Is the silver screen's portrayal the future that the men and women will be handing to their children?  It is unclear to many of our characters, powerless in the wake of the event.


Just as Don finally begins to try to have a relationship with Bobby, we realize that the boy may even care for his step-father more than Don, when he tells Don that he cannot sleep because he is worried about Henry's safety given what Bobby perceives as an important job. From Sally's remark that she "knew he wouldn't come" to the vigil for Dr. King, to his son's eloquent observation in the movie theater (remarking to the black usher that people love to some to movies when they are sad) Don is drifting away from his children, and they are becoming good people despite this.

He admits that he has trouble loving his children, and like many parents who themselves were forced to have a hard childhood find themselves giving their own children the same kind of treatment they swore they never would.  Despite their best intentions. He is happy with his arrogant realization that he indeed loves his son, but is only rebuked unknowingly by Bobby when he realizes the real father figure in his son's life is the man that entered it late.  We leave on a telling note, Don on the balcony as the city tries to right itself around him.  The water flows over him, and crashes hard below.


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, April 28, 2013

Fundays: Where We Look At Cool Stuff On The Internet

Hey there pals, we are back again for yet another one. Yep, you guessed it, today is the wonderful day known as Funday. The oh so laid back day where instead of worrying about anything we just kick back and check out some cool stuff from the internet this week. What do you think 1950's woman? Are you excited for this Funday?

I am so stressed from the past week!

Well don't you worry lady, this is a stress free zone. Only videos here, and so you can relax and click away. It doesn't matter that you live in the 1950's and have no computer. We will figure something out.

Anyways, I decided to add a new feature this week to Fundays. I think we should have a throwback music clip of the week.  Why? Because this is my blog and I will do whatever I want with it. In all seriousness though, people like nostalgia, and they always have. It is easy to remember the past as better than it actually probably was, and that is okay.  Also, I just like talking about music that I used to like, and WHAT DO YOU KNOW I HAVE A PLATFORM FOR IT.

Sounds

Lil Dicky

Pretty sure this is gonna be the next big viral video.  However, that is not the only reason I chose it because Lil Dicky is not only clever and talented but funny. It is hard to make a good song, it is even harder to make it so funny.  He does both, hope you are paying attention Lonely Island, because this guy might jack your lane if you aren't careful.


Snoop Lion

Were you confused/upset when Snoop Dogg changed his name and announced he would be doing reggae music for a while?  I was too, and like you may have I yearned for the days when a corn-rowed blue bandana wearing pimp straight out of Long Beach was rapping his ass off, calling people "bitch" in the incredibly Snoop specific incantation. Well you know what we forgot? Snoop Dogg is a person, and that person is a 41 year old man who has been at the top of the musical world for years.  As a mature man, he traveled to Jamaica and was enthralled by the Rastafarian lifestyle and adherence to peaceful life, after his years of rapping about the same things, the man in Snoop wanted to do what he could to finally really promote how he felt, which is that peace and nonviolence should be his pursuit.  So how would he do this? The only way he knew possible, music. Sometimes we as fans should think about the people behind the music we love. They are people too. It also helps that he smartly got the hottest dancehall artists like Mavado and Popcaan to join him.


 

Sky Ferreira

I don't know a lot about Sky Ferreira, but I do know that I listened to her for the first time this past week. Sky Ferreira is another one of those people who makes music that I am not sure about.  Yes I think she is a looker, yes I think her music is a cool marriage of pop and something I can't put my finger on, of course the video which looks like an homage to 1985 Madonna is great.  I don't know though, it seems like something about her is too manufactured, but at the same time she is still kind of raw underneath. Hey I am intrigued if anything.


 

Tanlines

This music will make you feel better than you do right now. That alone is reason enought. In all seriousness though, these two guys make some fun sounds that will make you feel like you took a trip back into a 1985 underground New Wave dance club.  If that sounds like something you might enjoy (because why wouldn't you) then you are in luck.


 

Sights

Fast Gymnastics

I used to think that guys who did gymnastics were some kind of wuss.  I will also admit, sometimes when I was younger I was very stupid.  Today I think that guys who do gymnastics are some of the most impressive male athletes around, kind of like the guy you will see below.  I warn you, you will probably feel very out of shape and untalented after viewing, but hey you are gonna watch it anyway am I right?  This video is amazing.


 

Batman vs. Penguin

This is a video with Batman, so I was gonna include it anyway.  However it also has Patton Oswalt as The Penguin, so after learning that tidbit it was a sure thing.  Just watch it already, its great.


 

Bling Ring

In case you have never heard about it the Bling Ring was a group of teens who repeatedly robbed the mansions of various famous people in Hollywood.  They often waled right into the houses which were unlocked and assuredly empty due to the groups monitoring of said celebrity on various entertainment news websites. Of course like anything interesting there is going to be a movie made of it. What I am really including it here for is that for all you couples out there, this very well may be the perfect movie for you to watch together.  Also Emma Watson, the gift to heterosexual men everywhere is in this movie. Emma Watson is looking hot, and that alone is cause for a ticket purchase.


 

Remember 1999

Remember what I said above about nostalgia? People love that shit! Chances are if you are reading this blog you will remember 1999 very well, otherwise you are 15 and despite what you may think (you adolescent asshole) no adult gives a shit what you remember.  Anyway, hold onto your butts, and enjoy a trip back to nearly everything you can remember, and be ready to say "Aww shit" a lot when you inevitably see something you didn't remember but now do intensely.


 

Throwback Music Choice

TLC

Man, in every writing piece you do you should have a theme, it is pretty basic and something you plan out before you begin.  This article usually doesn't have one except for it being Funday and that should be fun with stupid videos.  Very strangely though we have stumbled into a theme of nostalgia together. Weird right?

Forget about that though because it is time to talk about TLC. Man the 1990's was a good time if you liked R&B (there's that nostalgia again.)  Now if you specifically liked women's R&B in the 1990's you were probably very happy all throughout the period.  Some of the best groups and artists were singing their asses off lamenting either their love for you or their loss of your love and how it affected them.  It was glorious.

One of those groups was the amazing TLC, who began their dominance of popular music in the decade.  Their unique personalities, the feisty feminine strength, those shiny pajamas, they made the kind of music that women loved openly and guys loved in secret, until they matured and realized that it was totally fine to love good music regardless.  This week I chose "Creep" which is probably my favorite song by these wonderful women.  That horn, those dance moves, the pajamas, there will never be another one like them. This song either was or still is "your jam" so enjoy it as much as I will.

Ladies and gentlemen...TLC



We did it! Another Funday is behind us, hope you are energized for the week ahead.  If anything just comeback and watch some dumb videos on your phone Monday, nobody is productive on Monday. See you next week guys and gals.


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, April 26, 2013

This Very Well Could Be Your New Favorite Video On The Internet

Viral videos are great, so great that sometimes it may seem like the Internet was created for no other reason than to eat hours upon hours of our life sitting in the warm glow of a monitor watching auto tone remixes of news stories.

Some of the best videos are those that include both humor and something else. For example humor and something disgusting, humor and cuteness, humor and outrage. However, I think the best videos are those that deftly blend humor and music.  Well today I was in luck, because I became aware of a guy named Lil Dicky. Lil Dicky is a rapper. Lil Dicky just recently put out the first single for his mixtape. The song is called "Ex-Boyfriend." It is hilarious. In it we follow Lil Dicky's insecurities upon meeting his gorgeous girlfriend's ex-man.

Although the video itself is fun, it is in the clever delivery and content of the song that matches so well with the visual and is really the catching point. Check it out below, and be ready for some NSFW but oh so fun music. Also, stick with it and make sure you watch the whole thing, the second half is where it truly shines.



As always, once again thank you Internet. We don't deserve your glorious wonders.

"Six pack on a dick."


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

Watch This Woman Mess Up Winning A Ferrari

The Price is Right is the perennial US game show. People young and old continually are excited to watch regular people guess the costs of items, play weird games, and spin a vertical wheel in hopes to win often times a prize as exciting as a new washing machine. However, every one who has seen even a few episodes knows the real draw of the show, aside from the random choosing of audience members as contestants, and subsequent hilarious freak outs of emotion.

Like this guy.
The real allure is hearing those magical words in regards to your potential prize; IT'S A NEWWW CAAARRRRR!!!  This happened recently for a lucky contestant, and at a level rarely seen on the show. The new car up for a prize? A brand new Ferrari 458 Spyder. Yes the show decided to go big, and to the tune of $285,716 despite the fact that a regular person couldn't even hope to pay for the taxes and insurance on such a vehicle. I guess if you are gonna go big, then you go big right?

The chosen contestant Therese, was given the game Three Strikes to win the pricey auto, and the show even had to add a sixth digit to the price tag for the first time ever.  She new the car was expensive, but it wasn't $100,000. Her next guess of $800,000 was a little bit of an overshot, culminating in a final guess of $600,000.  Sorry Therese, big whammy.

Hey she shouldn't feel bad though, like we said it would be hard for nearly anyone to afford such a car unless you could already buy one on your own. I guess she could have flipped that ride online, and it would have been cool to take it for a spin but it wasn't meant to be. Hats off to you Therese, and also to The Price is Right for going big.

Here she is losing out on the Itallion Stallion, it starts at 3:30 in:





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, April 25, 2013

It Is Thursday So Let's Talk About Music: Rap Game History Lesson

Alright folks, get out those trapper keepers and sharpen your No. 2 pencils, we got some knowledge to kick.  Today on Music Thursdays we are gonna check out some of the pioneers of rap music, people who fans of the genre that were born after 1991 may not have ever heard of.  The people who paved the way for the dominance of popular music that Hip Hop has claimed for years now.  You may be a fan of many rappers, but checking out the people who your favorite rappers loved, now that is interesting.  Most of today's modern Hip Hop music has come from these innovators in one way or another, and if you call yourself a fan of the music, then you should be hip to where it came from. Hey, if anything you just might find out about some great music that you enjoy, and until now have never heard about.  That alone is will make this worth reading.

Below are a few of the many incredible artists who each in their own way sculpted and shaped the genre into what and how it is today. The timeless music they each created has inspired now multiple generations who continue to build off the solid foundation that they built together and gave to the world. So join me for a travel back in time to New York City in the 1980's. It was a hard life in the ghettos of the various neighborhoods. Crack had hit the streets with a vengeance, ruining many lives and producing an army of "baseheads." Crack abusers who lurked the streets, eager to rob and steal to provide for their crippling addiction.  Whole areas of the city like the South Bronx could've been confused with war zones, with crumbling abandoned buildings dotting the landscape.  Skeletal cars lined the streets, left to deteriorate where they stopped.  Yet like the Phoenix who rises from ashes, there were those who would rise above the poverty and pain. Those who would chose music as their voice, and who would turn out to be some of the best to ever have picked up a microphone and spun a record on a turntable.  Here are some of those individuals.

The reality of what whole neighborhoods looked like.

We begin our lesson with the man simply titled as "The Ruler."  Born in London, but settled in New York the man known as Slick Rick would go on to create a career in rap music that had never before been seen. Beginning his career in 1983, Rick would go on to create classic songs like "Children's Story" employing a revolutionary way of storytelling on the microphone.  His ability to tell a cohesive and detailed narrative, while still providing a catchy song made him an instant star. Coupled with his unique look, his trademark eye patch and large amount of jewelry draped over custom suits and fur coats made him as unforgettable as his music.  Music which addressed and recreated the world around him.  A world that included vicious crime, while at the same time a deep love of the flawed environment he lived in.  Using this knowledge Rick virtually created the storytelling style in Hip Hop music.

The Ruler himself.

Rick's 1988 debut album entitled The Great Adventures of Slick Rick is to this day considered one of the best albums of all time.  Rick uses his smooth style and adherence to the Queen's English, to paint listeners a picture of the times he was living in, the people he shared it with, and most of all what they could do to help themselves.  Yes, Rick enjoyed his material wealth, but he was also one of the first rappers to find success while proposing that those who lived on the bottom could make it out of their situation, if only they followed his lead.

Below is the iconic music video from Rick's debut, "Children's Story." In it he paints a vivid picture of a robbery gone wrong in only the way he can.  Looking past the rather silly visual, Rick describes a harrowing account of a youth gone wrong, culminating in a message for all those who he surely saw crowding the streets, walking the razor blade between righteousness and criminality.





Where Rick played the street wise story teller, another man would emerge from Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn to virtually create the tough but smooth gangster persona almost 15 years before Jay Z would take the mantle. Considered as one of the most talented MC's to have ever rapped, his influence can be seen in almost every great New York rapper in the generations that followed.  He influenced Jay Z with his smooth style, onto DMX with his tough street persona.  That man is Big Daddy Kane.

This guy is pretty much the reason we have DMX and Jay Z, respect.

His multi-syllabic rhyme style was revolutionary, and added to the furious complicated wordplay the result was songs that sounded nothing like any other that had been released.  He deftly rhymed about both his gangster persona, while also sliding into a overtly sexual player guise. One of the most imitated and admired, his legacy remains as one of the most memorable rappers ever.

His song, "Ain't No Half Steppin'" was and continues to be a consummate Hip Hop classic.  In it Kane deftly weaves his rhymes together while switching flows and delivery with an effortless ease that not many can match.  The level of his skills on the microphone here are still impressive to this day, and one can see why his influence is still felt.





From an innovator of the gangster persona, to the innovator of Gangsta Rap.  Straight out of the South Bronx a young rapper would emerge, and along with his two partners would create one of the most legendary groups in the genre.  KRS-One is that man, and his teaming with DJ Scott La Rock and Derrick Jones, he would create Boogie Down Productions.  The group that would virtually invent the style of gangsta rap, years before the likes of NWA and the west coast groups.  Beginning as a graffiti writer the man who called himself KRS-One (a shortened version of Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone) would be the dominant MC in BDP's debut Criminal Minded.

This guy makes overalls look cool.

Of Jamaican descent KRS would be the first rapper to introduce his Jamaican style into rap music on the debut.  An album rife with the incredible anger and energy he saw living in his environment.  Considered the pioneer of both hardcore and gangster rap, KRS lashed out both politically and socially, ready to fight for what they represented. 

However, after the tragic shooting of Scott La Rock, the man known as "The Teacher" would continue a successful career while preaching non-violence and a distinct political platform. 

In "My Philosophy" KRS drops knowledge upon your ears, as you get to hear what he is all about. Which is many important things regarding his community and rap itself.  You can basically hear in this one song the massive influence that a group like BDP had on Dr Dre and Eazy E's NWA group.




Finally, we move to Queens and what many consider the premier MC/DJ combo of all time. These two guys are arguably the most influential group in all of Hip Hop history. Their debut album Paid in Full is continually recognized as not only one of the best Hip Hop albums, but one of the greatest albums ever made in the scope of recorded music. The duo is Eric B. & Rakim.

Get this album. Now.
Possessing a potent chemistry Eric B's skills on the turntables, and bombastic sample heavy production perfectly complimented the one who many nicknamed simply "The God" for his never before seen skills on the microphone, Rakim.  Hailed both in the moment and still today, the innovation that Rakim brought to rap music and the style of rapping is arguably the basis for all modern iterations of the genre. Rakim invented multiple rhyming per line, complicated flow, and did it all almost effortlessly with a swagger that no one could hope to match. He did it all, and over some of the most memorable productions of the time period thanks to the equally impressive skills of Eric B.

Their song "Paid in Full" off the album of the same name is one of the most recognizable songs in rap music, let alone one that your favorite modern rapper probably not only knows but was influenced by. When you think of legendary duos, you would be apt to include these guys, two of the best to ever do it.




There it is pupils, a little bit of knowledge as to where and why rap music is the way it is today. These four innovators are in fact only a small group of the many who emerged and made a legendary name form themselves not only in NYC but the world. If you are a fan of Hip Hop I wouldn't presume for you to have to like any of their music (which I think is impossible anyway) but I would urge you to at least recognize the artist who paved the way, and changed the game. All massively different in their own ways, each shares one common thing. They all rose from a difficult life, and used this as their inspiration to both better their lives and energize their creativity.  This produced some of the best music ever made. Hip Hop school is over for now, but your homework is this: Pay respect, and enjoy the great music.



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

The New Xbox Will Be Revealed May 21

Better to be late to the party then absent right? Although Sony has been able to get a lengthy jump ahead of the giant looming Microsoft, with it's February 20 reveal of the PS4, Microsoft finally confirmed the existence of something pretty much everyone already knew existed. May 21st in Redmond Washington, Microsoft will unveil what they have been working on so secretly for the past few years.  At 10AM they will begin an event that is to be streamed live on Spike television, and it is safe to say, every major website that has to do with video games.

Here is the invitation sent out to journalists:


For months now swarms of rumors have surrounded the pending announcement of what Microsoft had up their collective sleeves as to regarding the next iteration of the incredibly popular Xbox. Numerous reports and supposed leaks of information from people close to the new machine's development have had fans wondering what would turn out to be accurate. For example one rumor regards to the possibility that the new machine will be requiring an online connection, which the possibility of was not at all well received by fans.  Another, that the new console would include an integrated version of Microsoft's popular motion controller Kinect, and the machine would need Kinect to run.

The years of rumors will all hopefully be addressed during the event, as over time the landscape of both what is expected and rumored from the new machine has continued to grow.  We almost know too much information about the console, albeit without any confirmation of any piece of news. Various news outlets have reported on and received their own share of supposed leaks and rumors, none of which could be confirmed to their audiences with any certainty.

Below is a collection of some of the rumors about the new machine. Again, these are all unconfirmed, but reported from various confidential sources:

  • The new machines controller will be a "natural evolution" of the original design that so many customers have become used to.  However, Xbox 360 controllers will not work on the new console.
  • Similar to the PS4, the new Xbox will be able to seamlessly switch between games and other applications on the fly with the touch of a button. It will also "freeze" the state of your current program so that when you return you can resume immediately.
  • You will be able to install games to your hard drive while you play them.
  • The new machine has an HDMI in port, which will essentially allow your Xbox to become a television box.
  • It may block the use of used games, a feature that has made many fans angry. This feature could be removed before release even if it is a current feature.
  • There will be a myriad of games released for the new system.  Recently many developers have been very quiet, giving rise to the assumptions that they are working on next generation titles.
  • The next console will be released this holiday season. Microsoft will want to release the machine during the time where many people will be spending money on presents, and also to directly compete with the release of the PS4.

However many rumors exist, what is sure is that some if not all of them will be answered at the end of next month.  The timing of the event is interesting, considering how close it is to the June date of the biggest video game expo in the world E3.  With Sony's event that happened this past February, the Japanese company has used the time between then and E3 to build hype for their new machine.  Many wondered when Microsoft would answer with their own console announcement.  Perhaps the company took the time to add or remove features based on fan reaction to rumors, or maybe the company has a different plan.

Either way, we will soon find out what is in store for Xbox fans in a month, followed by more information at E3.  It is an exciting time to be a fan of video games.

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, April 24, 2013

The Internet Gets Retro On New Daft Punk Song

Like a sonic whirlwind bestowed upon us by the God of Killer Jams, Daft Punk's new single has been released to the public and ladies and gentlemen it is a smooth groovin' new style disco banger. The song, "Get Lucky" which was released last week (albeit in radio edit form only) has hit the internet like a wildfire, with many fans excited and others inevitably getting their haterade on. 

Look at those suits! Of course there are haters, they're too jealous.
Some have complained that the song doesn't have enough Daft Punk in it.  That the robots are only featured on a small part of the song and if one didn't already know that this piece of music was indeed composed by the famous duo, you would have no idea.  That the inclusion of Pharrell William's signature falsetto, and Nile Rodger's catchy riffs outshine the small section that includes the iconic groups robotic voices. Here it is for a little context:



I say to those people that they are foolish. Number one, the song is the radio edit, a fact that it goes to great lengths to remind you by stating right in the title.  Obviously the original mix will be extended and most likely very different from this version. Second, the whole idea behind this album is that the group wanted to harken back to the uniquely musical era of disco, and create an album around that period.  This isn't a new idea for the group, whose last album could be considered a concept album.

However the point is that when something hits the Internet that is as popular as this new song, there is bound to be a certain level of divisiveness. That is an understood occurrence in our disposable society.  What is infinitely more interesting are the almost obligatory ways that people almost immediately accept new things online and then take them and morph them into often a surprising and unique outcome.  So many talented people exist online, waiting to ply their various skills, often for free, as a way to share both their ability and their admiration for the subject matter.  Sometimes they even combine two of their hobbies into one great product.

There is an account on YouTube under the name Floating Point who has done just this.  Taking a love for both old school video game music, which unique 8 bit sound almost everyone who has played Mario at some point will recognize, and the new Daft Punk song. They have re-imagined it as a retro style version you would surely have heard back in the days of the original Nintendo Entertainment System.



This is the first of what I am sure will be many remixes and re-toolings of the groups material, especially when their album is released on May 15th.  Until then enjoy the interesting idea here and maybe even the regular song as well.

 

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, April 23, 2013

Yoji Shinkawa: The Artist Who Makes Games Truly Memorable

There are a myriad of differences between the way Western developers and Japanese ones create video games.  One of these begins in the earliest stage of the creative process, when artwork is created for the game.  Many western developers employ huge teams of artists, each working on their own particular part of a game, which at the end of the process all the artwork is put together like a puzzle and made to fit perfectly.

However, in Japan there are often smaller teams that work in creating the artwork, and often one lead artist is able to oversee the process, which can create a more seamless and fluid style for a game. Often this Japanese way of creating art can lead to some very unique and iconic imagery that forever ties the name of the artist to the material that they work on.



If there ever was a great example of this, it would be in the Metal Gear Solid series.  Metal Gear Solid is my favorite game of all time, and the series has kept me coming back time and time again to enjoy the often ridiculous pursuits of Solid Snake in his various forms.  It fascinated me from that first game with it's military espionage, infusion of technology and warfare, and complicated storytelling through lofty philosophical ideals.

However, above all that the iconic artwork of Yoji Shinkawa has from the first time I opened the instruction booklet of Metal Gear Solid, fascinated and continued to wow me.  His incredibly detailed often black and white pencil style drawings of the fantastical creations of series head Hideo Kojima have stuck with me throughout the series of games. Fostering both my deep love of video games and the creative process behind them.

Whether creating grizzeld soldiers, cybernetic ninja warriors, or bipedal robotic tanks, Shinkawa has created a unique but encompassing and incredible body of work. Below are some of my favorite pieces of his art from the series.











 Often, even when a game is enjoyable it is often the art design that sticks with the player.  Metal Gear is my favorite series, and though I may not remember every facet of the gameplay I will never forget this amazing artwork.


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



Ryan Hemsworth's Remixes Will Make Your Panties Wet Even If You Are A Guy

Ladies and gentlemen, sometimes there is a musician who comes around and through their music they make you wish your lips were longer so you could kiss your own ears.  Recently I discovered a producer named Ryan Hemsworth who makes your favorite songs into the most ridiculous remixes, so good that you may even forget about the original.  Ryan Hemsworth is a superhero of beats, but just in case you were wondering he isn't related to this guy:

Thor AKA Chris Hemsworth. Sure you may be a god, but can you make a fat beat? I don't think so!
 Hemsworth is a Canadian DJ and producer who makes mostly electronic music that includes heavy sampling. He has released one solo album and 5 EPs, including the most recent, 2012's Last Words. He has also done remixes for a variety of artists including Tinashe, Grimes, Cat Power, Rhye, and Angel Haze.

Hemsworth is also a producer of instrumentals for a variety of Hip Hop artists including one of the most exciting new rappers Deniro Farrar.  He has worked with Farrar on a handful of songs and the two go together like...well a great producer and a talented rapper, which is very well.

Let's get to the music though. Below I included three of my favorite remixes he has done. These are some panty droppers, and I guess the male equivalent would be boner jams? Below are the remixes along with a link to the original for a little context to see how this beat wizard works his spell on songs.

First up is his bootleg remix of Frank Ocean's hit "Thinkin Bout You" which is a song that I absolutely love. For those who don't know a bootleg in these terms is a remix where the producer doesn't sample the source but adds onto the existing original track.  If you thought you liked the simple composition of the original, slap yourself and listen to this. Just in case you haven't heard this massive original song, find it here.




Next we have a proper remix, and boy is this a gem.  This time Hemsworth chose the recent Cat Power single "Manhattan." Not only does he deconstruct and rebuild the haunting chorus into a smooth head bobbing groove, but recruits the beautiful talented rapper Angel Haze to provide a great intro. Here is the original, quite the transformation.




Finally we have pop crooner and love or hate her artist Lana Del Rey's "Summertime Sadness" transformed from a sad lamenting ballad into a bombastic hood fresh jam. And yes I think that sentence is a good way to describe it. The original song is right here.



So there you go, a taste of the magic sounds straight out of Canada. Do you have a favorite new producer who is remixing your favorite songs into straight jams? Let me know!

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, April 22, 2013

Game of Thrones Recap: The Fine Line Between Murder and Justice

 Often, in shows that have to juggle so many characters, by the middle of the season things can get a little bogged down.  However most shows don't have a few dragons to throw in the mix to immediately spice things up.  While this week suffered from a little bit of slow down, and some almost forced action, it would be hard to argue that it wasn't the most exciting conclusion to an episode yet this season, even after last weeks shocking amputation.

If anything, this episode was about the line that the warriors of Westeros often walk, whether or not their actions are indeed unjust if they are only following orders. Jamie is tormented by the men following orders to return him to Robb. The Hound is put on trial by men he considers like him, only to be accused of murder for what he deems was his duty. Even The Unsullied, who are freed by their new master, choose to continue to follow her orders and aid her cause. As usual in life and Game of Thrones, the decision of what is right often goes to the victor and in the world of Westeros the victors and the righteous often change with quicker than the long seasons.

Although some parts never get old. Can they get their own show already?

We first are back with Jamie and Brienne, whose at first delightful journey has taken a hideous turn. Their captors continue to shame and torture Jamie, to the horror of Brienne.  Face down in the mud and dying of thirst, they mock and chastise him.  How far he has fallen, once the most famed swordsman in the Seven Kingdoms, now defeated. Resting his head upon his severed hand attached to his clothing. Jamie is unable to cope with his lost sword hand, admitting to Brienne in a vulnerable moment that he believes that all he was is that hand.

Brienne rejects this notion instead herself chastises him. She reminds him that "People have important things taken from them," in the real world. She reveals to him that she knows Jamie saved her, and that his claim that the sapphires that would be given for her ransom in fact are a lie he made up to stop her rape. Although yet she cannot figure out why, perhaps the man that Jamie was is gone, and what will become of this new man we can only wait and see.

Next we check in for one of the best scenes of the episode when we get to see the origins of Varys's eunuch status in a conversation with Tyrion, when he comes to Varys for revenge against Cercei's attempts at killing him.  He confides to Tyrion how as a boy he was a victim of a sadistic wizard, whose magic and mutilation, Varys can never forget.  When he opens the crate he is working on, revealing the contents is the very wizard that tormented him, he reminds Tyrion that revenge will come in time if he has the stomach for it. We have heard how dangerous Varys is, and finally like he says we get to really see how much this is true.

Mess with the Spider, end up in his web. Or in a wooden box more like it.

 Even though he cunning and intelligent, we see that he believes in saving the world that those in power try so desperately to destroy.  Often going to much effort to accomplish this task. Later on we see him meet with Olenna, in another delightful scene.  They are both formidable in their ways, and it seems share a common goal.  When Varys tells her that he is worried that Little Finger would "burn the world to be king of the ashes." He may have found an unlikely ally in Olenna, who knows what together they will cook up. Varys has been a hero disguised as a villain, and it is great to see the role flipped without him losing his dangerous qualities.

Speaking of role reversals, Theon is on the run with his savior to what he thinks is salvation with his sister. He confides in his companion, finally showing his deep regret for the actions he has taken in trying to be the Ironborn man he all along knew that he was not.  The boys he had killed, the people of Winterfell who suffered because of him, all to please the man who he thought of as a father.  It is heartbreaking when he admits his real father was the one who lost his head, not the man who gave him away as an infant.  However, things only turn worse when we realize that not only was Theon led by his savior right back to the very castle of his torture, but that now he is framed for the murders of the men who were tormenting him.  I shuddered when they strapped him back to the X shaped cross, as his captor smiled sadistically.  What kind of man would fool him into thinking he was saved only to frame him for murder and now continue his torture? Unfortunately, we will soon find out.

We also check back in with what as of now seems the most virtuous group in the kingdoms with the Brotherhood Without Banners as they enter their Robin Hood/Batcave hideout and we are introduced to thier leader, Beric Dondarrion.  They aim to punish The Hound for his crimes, all of which he rebukes and names their hatred for his brother, a man that the younger Clegaine despises as much as they.  Here we see the complicated character of The Hound, and that he isn't the bloody killer that even he tries so hard to convey to those around him. We also find out that both the Brotherhood and Melisandre pray to the same Lord of Light. Perhaps in usual Thrones fashion, there is more to the Red Woman than it may seem.  Is she somehow a force that is other than malevolent? Or is the righteous Baeric and his band of warriors not as heroic an just as they seem? Surely in time we will find out, when one of them either betrays our trust or surprises us in some way.

Finally we end with Daenerys in spectacular fashion. Daeny receives her army at the cost of Dracarys, and as the master struggles with his leash she surveys her troops.  You cannot help but be excited when at the moment she gains power over the Unsullied she reveals that she could speak the slaver's tongue all along. That it in fact is her native language and that the dragon cannot be controlled because it is not a slave.  Daeny unleashes the dragon and her army on the evil slave masters and regains her sense of justice, and at once we see again her cunning and her ruthlessness, but all contained within her strict set of morals.

Laid the smackdown, dragon style.

Jorah once told her that he knew she would be a tender and loving ruler, and now she proved she can also be a dangerous one.  We celebrate the triumph of Daenerys as justice, and not murder, because we too see her as the righteous victor over the identifiably despicable slavers.  The Unsullied feel the same when she frees them and not one abandons her, even given the first choice in their free lives. Will all of Daeny's decisions between good and evil be so cut and dry? I think by now we all know the answer to that question.

A few quick bits to wrap everything up:
  • RIP to the Lord Commander Mormont, I wonder if Jorah will find out about his death. Anyways pour one out for the Night's Watch, at least Crastor got his finally.
  • Joffrey and Margaery are gonna be married in a tomb...FORESHADOWING.
  •  Ros is proving to be a good spy, and it's true when Varys notes that prodigies can be found in strange places
  • Are Sam and Gilly the new Odd Couple after Jamie and Brienne got screwed?
  • Man, Margaery is good at manipulating everybody, including Joffrey and Sansa. Much to Cercei's anger about her inability.
  • The scene between Cercei and Tywin was awesome, culminating in his oh so Tywin line- "You're not as smart as you think you are."
Thanks for reading, and be sure to check in next week for another recap.

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


Mad Men Episode 4 Recap: To Have and To Hold

Move over lecherous and alcohol guzzling fellas, because this episode was decidedly about the numerous and wonderful women characters who inhabit our oh so trying world of advertisement.  This feminine episode finally saw some attention paired to two of the most requested characters for some screen time, Joan and Dawn. We also got to see the respected triumphs of Peggy and Megan, although their success came not without a price of course. In the world of Mad Men, where bad people do awful things to each other, the women often fall at the brunt of the punishment, despite their own strength and resilience it can still be a heavy burden as we see this week.

Dawn, one of the most requested characters from fans, as a person whose inclusion on the show could finally allow for some acknowledgement and perspective of racial situations of the era finally got her own little storyline.  Although it was rather short, we got to see some real insight into the life of the only black member of the SCDP staff, and wouldn't you know it things are kinda tough. In addition to her admission of wanting to find a relationship, complete with the great line, "I can't compete with those harlots." when addressing church Dawn is struggling at work.  We get to see more of how Dawn feels about her job when she meets with a friend at a diner to discuss their respective lives. Her friend is on her way to the chapel, and Dawn feels like she cannot get things together.


Love you.
When she is caught by Joan helping a co-worker cheat on her hours, Dawn naturally fears for her job and we find out that the fear she exhibits isn't too rare an emotion for a secretary who is employed at this particular firm. She mentions to her friend how "Everyone is always scared there, people crying in the bathroom, and don't forget that poor man who hung himself." Indeed, even if it seems that no one else chooses to remember Lane's tragic death, Dawn does. It is great to see her get some attention from the show, as she replaces the void left by Peggy's departure of a genuinely good-natured and well meaning individual who almost seems caught up in over her head with snakes.

Finally, we get some Joan time!
 We also get to check back with Joan as she finally gets the majority of the screen time this week, a proposition that will surely make fans happy. Joan's rise from secretary to partner has been a rocky and fascinating one, and this season we will get to see how becoming a partner in the firm has affected her.  The truth, we quickly find out is not very much. When early on Joan finds Harry's secretary is cheating on her hours with the help of Dawn, she fires one and chastises Dawn. Only to be rebuked by the increasingly despicable Harry, who barges into the partner meeting and demands his secretary's job or he quits, holding the large piece of business he made hostage against Joan. It is becoming clear that although she is a partner, her place at the table isn't clear and her rise from secretary has left her job unclear in it's authority, especially at the feet of the men who surround her.

 However work isn't the only place we see Joan as she has a visit from her friend/plot device Kate, who comes to town in the guise of a new job offer selling Avon, and ends up taking Joan out for a night on the town, an adulterous one of course. Taking a trip to the decidedly swinging 60's Electric Circus, the ladies spend a drunken night together, and we see a great moment as Joan at first of all people is the third wheel. It is a great bit of symbolism, her sitting on the white couch under the colorful psychadelic lighting and loud music, unable and unwilling to change with her surroundings.  The times they are a changing, but Joan is still herself, even though she of course eventually gets her own make-out session.  Her mother is proud of her and Kate is admittedly jealous, but Joan doesn't share in their enthusiasm for her position. She tells Kate that even after 15 years, she still feels like a secretary, and in some ways it is worse than when she was.  Harry showed her authority isn't clear, and we have yet to see if how she infamously earned said partnership will affect her later on despite the so far restraint the men of the office have shown in addressing it.  Like they do, they have for now swept it under the rug, but all it takes is a little alcohol and emotion, and one of them like always could say something awful.

Speaking of being awful, Don continues his streak this season at the expense of his intelligent and talented wife.  Megan has gotten a more significant role on her show, which of course includes a love scene with one of the actors (it is a soap opera after all.)  When she tells Don he admits he can live with it but will not encourage it, or her for that matter.  Megan however, in her optimism thanks him for agreeing, genuinely seeming afraid that Don will say no.  A proposition I am sure she didn't want to have to deal with. Don continues to treat her job as an unimportant annoyance to his life and career, a telling an incredibly selfish and immature affair.

The increasingly not so happy couple.


Megan is becoming a talented actress that is realizing her dreams through her display of talent, and all Don can do is treat her accomplishments as flippant and unimportant.  To Don she is his wife, and that is all, and if she insists on this career regardless that it makes her incredibly happy, he will have to deal with it.  When Don finally does leave the office defeated by another certain woman (more on that later) he visits the show to witness Megan's new love scene, where she innocently and deftly performs well, and in his eyes too well of course.  He attacks Megan in the dressing room, telling her coldly, "You kiss people for money, do you know what that makes you?"

Don't you see Megan, you aren't a talented actress and genuinely wonderfully intelligent, moral woman who Don should be grateful for being married to. You are just a common whore. Don is truly awful here, and when he runs where does he go? To Sylvia of course, paying her the penny she left under the mat to signal the all clear, in a subtle John and hooker relationship.  Don notices her crucifix who he asks her to remove, "Why?" she asks. "You don't believe in it." He asks her if she prays after he leaves her, "I pray for you," she says. "For you to find peace." We all need to pray for Don, although we know it probably won't matter.

The awful mistreatment of Megan, could again be Don's childish reaction and transfer of emotion to one woman after another wipes the floor with him. After a shady dealing behind the back of their Heinz beans account with the Ketchup man in a seedy hotel room, the men of SCDP find out when they leave that Peggy's firm is right behind them and their secret meeting wasn't all that secret. Peggy wows the Ketchup man with her simple ad, employing her wit and a bit of Don's own charismatic speaking style and sends the men packing, winning the huge account right there.  Not only do they lose Ketchup, but Pete soon informs the men that their secret is out, and the Heinz beans man, who is betrayed also has taken his business elsewhere.

Peggy triumphs, and even though Stan doesn't realize that she sniped the business right out from under him (thank heaven) she still feels guilty in her accomplishment. Her ad wasn't even necessarily better, she just used her intuition and gave the Heinz man what he wanted, the bottle on the ad. A feature that was lacking in Don's creation. Even though our time with Peggy was brief, this is the beginning of what I hope to be an interesting arc for her.  She is talented as ever, but this time finding herself increasingly alone.

Finally we see Joan chastising Dawn, and giving her not a pink slip but more responsibility.  She hands Dawn the keys to the supply closet and time clock, and when Dawn confused thanks her for the added trust replies, "Don't thank me, I am punishing you even if you don't realize it." Dawn thanks her anyway, and here we see their relationship.  Dawn is right where Joan was all those years ago, competent and enthusiastic, but perhaps unwilling to use her power.  We are yet to see if Joan realizes this connection, though I bet it is safe to say she sees herself in part in Dawn. They are kindred spirits, even if they don't realize it, and they both have their own kind of power even if they haven't harnessed it quite yet. "I don't care if no one likes me," Dawn finally replies. "As long as you do."

"We will see," Joan tells her.  We too will see audience, all in time.  Overall this was a great episode, with some great little moments, outside of the exploits of our favorite women.  Don's face when he and Megan are propositioned by her show's writer and wife for a little bit of couple's swinging. Megan's final realization to just what they meant when they told them they wanted to "be friends." The Joe Namath in a straw hat Dow chemicals hilarious show idea. Stan's awesome beard and fringe suede jacket. Finally, an episode that accomplished many subtle things without to much major development.

One of the continuing strengths of this show is how it slowly moves you along without you realizing it, and before you know it the events that have been building fall on you like a ton of emotional bricks.  We are in for a great season so far, and remember no matter where it goes anything can happen. Like Peggy says, if you don't like the conversation change it, and these characters will.



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, April 21, 2013

Fundays: Where We Check Out Cool Stuff From The Week

Well if it isn't another Funday right back as always for your enjoyment. This week has been a long and tragic one for America, so it is only right that after the capture of the remaining suspect, the country breathed a sigh of relief.  The best way to not let terrorism win, is to carry on as if the events don't even affect you, so let's keep in that frame of mind and look at some fun stuff from this week. What do you say dog, you think that will be fun?

Clearly that is a big yes.
So sit back and relax, but most of all enjoy.

Sounds

Daft Punk

Of course I had to begin with the biggest news in music this week.  The iconic French duo quit teasing the world with SNL commercials and finally released the first single off of their highly anticipated album Random Access Memories which will be released on May 15th. Although only the radio edit, the song features producers extraordinaire Nile Rodgers on the guitar and Pharrell on vocals. The product, is a wonderfully catchy disco gem for 2013.


Ghostface Killah

As I stated in my glowing review, the new album from my favorite member of Wu-Tang entitled 12 Reasons to Die is by far my favorite of the year. The man who once rapped "It's manifested, the Gods work like appliances, Dealin in my cypher I revolve around sciences" is back with producer Adrian Younge for an incredible concept album. I shit you not, Ghostface as one of his many aliases Tony Starks is battling the De Lucca crime family in 1960's Italy. He falls in love with the boss's daughter only to be betrayed and murdered by his enemies.  After his murder and the De Luccas turn his body into 12 record souvenirs, Tony comes back as the vengeful ghost Ghostface Killah to exact his bloody revenge. Why haven't you bought this yet?


 

Wavves

Everybody's favorite "I like this band, but man doesn't it seem like they do a lot of heroin, I mean A LOT" type of garage rock/surf rock band just came out with a new album. Wavves is a rad name for a rad band. That is all.


 

Tegan & Sara

If you don't like Tegan and Sara, I don't care about you. Why? Because you must not be worth conversing with if you cannot find even a little bit of enjoyment from some of the most perfect pop music released in my lifetime. These two sisters can sing in that perfect way that seems like you could almost match it, but at the same time is so unique to their style.  Quit being so uptight, dance a little bit.


 

 Sights

Only God Forgives

I know I already wrote about this movie coming out, but God Dammit if I don't care because this movie is gonna be so fucking awesome. Nicholas Winding Refn is the best director you have never heard of even though he probably made one of your favorite movies. In my case he made three, Valhalla Rising, Bronson, and my favorite movie of all time, Drive. Now he is making in this new film a violent crime thriller with a Western feel set in the Far East. Take my money.


 

R.I.P.D

File this one under "looks ridiculous, but has Jeff Bridges so I am totally in."  This movie is a summer movie, which means it has a stupid premise, but probably will be a hell of a lot of fun.  Jeff Bridges pretty much plays a gun-slinging snarky cowboy, I mean that alone is grounds for purchase of a ticket.


 

Patton Oswalt

I love Patton Oswalt, and another thing I love is hilarious improvisation. Recently Mr. Oswalt guessed starred in Parks and Recreation as a civilian intent on delivering a filibuster to the city council.  To do so the show creators just rolled the cameras and had him talk, and what did he talk about?  He delivers 8 minutes of the best most nerdy Star Wars ideas that you will have ever heard. You will be nodding your head while laughing your ass off. Well done.


 

Harrison Ford

Speaking of Star Wars, you know who doesn't want to talk about the movies? Hollywood star, and resident grumpy man Han Solo, I mean Harrison Ford.  Seriously, don't bring up the movies to him.





That is it, you wonderful Funday audience you. I hope your week this week will be better than the last one, and even if it isn't check back here where I will do my best to make it just a little bit better with some dumb videos. See you then.



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