2022 Update Where To Find My Work and What the Hell I Have Been up to

Haha, funny how fast life comes at you… and how you forget your login to Word Press to update your dumb blog. That is not about me, obviously. Anyways, it is a new year, so why not give people an update on what I have been doing lately workwise.

For one, I am doing mostly freelance writing. I got let go of my last writing gig a while back, so I have been doing the freelance thing. It is cool to write for different outlets but sucks because the pay is crippling. That said, experience is experience and money is money when you’re a college student. (Feel free to give me work via my e-mail tszelden@gmail.com)

In other news, I have a new-new podcast. I say “new-new” because we evolved Whiskey Talks to Arbitrary Arguments. Turns out a podcast where two of the three hosts get super drunk is a terrible idea. Anyways, check that out to listen to my friend and I get into dumb fights with some moments of agreement. You can find us anywhere you get your podcasts.

I am still making YouTube videos. I quit the Let’s Play styled videos as I was not having fun and editing those were miserable when I am not even making money. I break down news stories in gaming, react to trailers, and do reviews. If that sounds boring or interesting, check it out.

That is essentially it for now. Check out my latest work and follow me on Twitter for my dumb takes, liberal opinions, and any promotion of my work. See you there!


Beginner’s Tips When Getting a Tattoo

In the past two or three years, one of my newfound passions has been tattoos. I love having them, the culture surrounding having ink on my body, and goddamn, it is just addicting, so even if I did not feel strongly, I would still continue getting artwork embedded into my skin.

While I have plenty of friends who do have tattoos, most do not. I always get asked questions because not only do I have some, I have done extensive research on the topic. Whether that is watching or reading interviews with artists or asking questions when I go in for an appointment. Since I know many people without any might also want answers before sitting down and going through pain for a few hours, here are some beginner’s tips for tattoos.

1. Don’t go for something too small

Over course, it depends on what you want to get, but it is best to not get something too small for your first tattoo. You should experience the whole process as a whole, even the pain. A lot more goes into going into a shop and getting a tattoo. The artist will speak with you about your idea and draw something up, then get your approval for that concept. After the consultation, the tattooer makes a stencil, an inked outline that goes on your body that they trace during the linework. Finally, they get to add all the details, color, and/or shading to your piece (if you are getting something that is more than lines, that is up to what style you want, but we will get to that later).

Depending on what you want and where you want it, your artist may advise something bigger than what you had in mind. The smaller then, the harder it is to create detail for your piece. Personally, I go for a lot of detail for both the artwork that I get and follow on Instagram. If I wanted something two or three inches, then I would limit the tattooer.

The other problem comes later down the line as your tattoo may not age properly if it is too small. A lot of factors go into aging, and size sometimes can affect how things look in the future.

Finally, you should get something that fits that part of your body. I have a cardinal sitting on a branch with some leaves and acorns on my inner bicep. It fills the area without unnecessary space left open. If it did not, then it would look awkward or limit other ideas and placements for those potential tattoos.

2. Research, Research, Research

If you take anything away from this article, let it be that you have to research two major things.

For one, you should look into the plethora of styles that are out in the wild. Most of the time, people go for black/grey (no, it is not black and white or whatever people call it) or traditional/American traditional. Getting one of these two is totally fine because the beauty of art is there is no right or wrong on what you like. You should know the variety in what you can get goes beyond what you see on an average day. A few of my favorites include colored realism, surrealism, and new school.

Once you find out some styles that you like, you need to find the right artist. Look up every shop in your area that you are willing to travel to, then look at each artist. A shop may have a website with people’s portfolios, or you can visit people’s Instagram, the magical land of finding good tattooers. If you like 80 percent or more of their work, then they might be right for you.

3. Contacting Artists

When contacting artists, you may e-mail them or DM them on Instagram; it depends on their system. Regardless, you need to make sure you include certain details. After a pleasant hello (you would be surprised by how many people message “tattoo?” or some bullshit), you will explain what you want, if it is color or black/grey, approximate size, and the placement.

Like I previously said, when you have your day of the appointment, you will be walked through a process with the artist. If you have any concerns since it is your first time, then bring it up to them as they are there to make this easy as possible for you.

4. Be Open-Minded

The best experience for a client and ink master, you need to have a balance between getting what you want and what they want. You will lay out a foundational idea of what you want, like a rose, which is a classic piece many people have. The artist will elevate it by adding maybe a bee sitting on it. Of course, they will bring up ideas to you, and you will work together to come up with the final product.

Listen to what their ideas are and be open to what ideas may come about. For me, I say what I want and then let them run wild. When I got my cardinal, I wanted a cardinal in color. Alex Fiore, the tattooer who made the piece, asked if she could add some leaves and acorns, so I told her to surprise me.

5. Things not to say

You will piss someone off if you say the wrong thing, or at least they will think about you negatively. To have a good relationship if artists, here are things not to say:

  • “Tattoo gun.” It is not a gun; it is a machine.
  • “How much?” There are so many factors (we will get into it) about pricing, so if you have money, then get a tattoo. If you don’t, then wait.
  • “Are we almost done?” Be patient and don’t rush the artist. It takes a while, so you have to settle with the commitment.
  • It is okay to express your pain, but ease up on it to not to annoy everyone in the shop.

6. Pricing

Like I said, there are so many factors into pricing, making it hard for an artist to give you how much it will cost before you even started or finished. The style you get, how much the person charges, time, color or black/grey, etc., go into calculating how much you will pay.

7. Bringing People

Every artist is okay with you bringing a buddy, family member, or significant other in my experience. However, you should only bring one person. Most would not want you having more than one person, especially depending on how big their workstation is. It is a good idea to bring someone, especially for your first time, as emotional support can carry you through the hours of pain.

8. Placement

You are thinking, “where should I place my tattoo? Apparently, the placement will determine the level of pain or how the tattoo will look?” Then let’s break those questions down.

While I believe you need a decent-sized piece to take up a good three to four hours for your first experience, you need a spot on your body that will be less excruciating, especially if you have a low pain tolerance like myself. I would recommend the top of the thigh, upper arm, and most of the outer parts of the arm make it easier. Do know that you will still face some, but that level of anguish is up to the individual client.

Secondly, where you place, it can disrupt the flow of future pieces or not sit well on that part of the body. Luckily, your artist will take care of that for you. If you want a snake on a part that will flow awkwardly, then the tattooer should offer an alternative. Be open-minded and not set on where you want your snake or flower or whatever, as what you have pictured may not look good.

An additional bit of information is to not get your tattoo upside down. When I put my arm forward, people see my train right side up. If it was facing me, then showing it to people would be upside down. Any respectable artist will not make something facing towards you because across the industry, it is the wrong thing to do.

9. What if you get something bad? Laser? Coverups?

Even if you do your research, some unethical artists post work they did not do or modify it with a program or filter. It happens to clients who do all the right things. Maybe it was nothing on the artist, you end up not liking it anymore, or it does not resonate with you as you got it when you were too young. You have a few options.

Depending on what is done, you can get it fixed. This is not guaranteed, the tattooer you go to may not know how, but some may know how to fix up the problems with your bad ink. Somethings cannot be saved, so that is where you may have to go down another road.

Covering up your regretful choice or getting fucked over by someone who gave you something ugly on your body may or may not be possible. The darkness of it, color usage, size, etc., will determine if you cannot get it covered, but if you come across someone who does it well, then get their input to see if it can happen.

Maybe you can get that coverup, but you may need to get it lasered. It does not mean completely removed, sometimes getting enough laser work to make it light enough to bury under a good piece of ink. Also, like anything in life, do your research. Not all tattoo removal technicians are the same; make sure you get someone good at their job.

From YouTube to Journalism to Podcasting: An Update on Where to Find My Work

Hello readers, long time no see. The world has changed a lot since I was frequently posted. The United States is about to have a new President, COVID-19 has engulfed the planet, WordPress updated the look of the writing section here and its a fucking mess, and I have some new work to show off.

If you read my blog posts before and were wanting to know what I have been up to then this will give you an idea of everything for you to check out.

Let’s start with KeenGamer.

KeenGamer is a small, independent gaming journalism website. I have been writing there for almost a year now. I have written game reviews, guides, and plenty of news covering the games industry. I also revamped the site’s podcast where we talk about all things video game related.

As of writing this update on my blog, I have been writing a lot on Cyberpunk 2077, which I am beyond excited about, so I have become the Cyberpunk guy at KG.

Since then, I got promoted twice to become a Senior Editor. Meaning, I edit and publish people’s articles across all the different types we put out for our readers.

Time to transition into my other podcast, Whiskey Talks.

I did not start this project, but my two buddies did. The idea is that they drink a lot of whiskey and shoot the shit. I came on board to keep the conversations on track.

We talk about a bunch of random topics from cults to time travel. At the end, we review an album of the week. Just something that we like or find to make for an interesting discussion about. It is a less official and quite arbitrary take on reviews, but its fun and introduces us and our listeners to a wide array of music.

We also have a store, so go check out our merchandise.

Finally, onto YouTube.

This is a recent endeavor, but I wanted to learn how to edit video. It is mostly for my resume to be more desirable for any employers out there. Also, it is a fun hobby as I survive the pandemic.

I got into it mostly because of a class I am taking where I learned how to use Premiere Pro and Adobe Spark. You can check out a story I developed, both in video form and as a multimedia package, on how the tattoo industry has been hit by COVID.

Regarding the personal YouTube channel, I make videos all about video games. I make gameplay videos for now, but I plan on expanding the kinds of content I produce.

Thank you for supporting me to get to this point for the old time readers. For the newcomers, welcome aboard. I hope you all follow me on some of these new adventures.

Album Review: Dance Gavin Dance – Afterburner

I have so many friends who love Dance Gavin Dance, which I always was able to appreciate and understand, but I could not sink my teeth into their material. Afterburner is the first album I had heard front to back. While it has some heavy hitters in the first half, and widely dispersed in the second half, it mostly runs together in a blend that cannot be distinguished from one song or another.

The heart starts to beat for the record with the pulsing instrumentation of Prisoner. It soon flips between heavy and melodic realms. The hard turns between hard-driving and a floating melody complement one another nicely.

Lyrics Lie is undoubtedly a lie in a good way as it starts off soothing, then next thing I know, I got a punch to the gut from screams and heavier instrumentals. The smooth, clean singing soon keeps up with the speed of the harsher vocals while bringing in some of the catchiest choruses I will hear all year.

Calentamiento Global really shines how awesome Matt Mingus is as a drummer as he takes charge of a majority of the track. Slowly everyone comes together for a homogenous sound. It layers in a hefty dose of a fun, catchy melody that does not stick in my head as much as Lyrics Lie, but it is still irresistible.

I have torn feelings on Three Wishes. The chemistry between the screaming and clean vocals mix so much better than Calentamiento Global, but it feels way too formulaic with its structure and overall sound. That said, it ends on a high note as it kicks up the power.

One in a Million brings in some pop influences that are happily welcomed to the mix. It manages to fit next to the heavy segments due to some stellar transitions from the group’s bass, guitar, and drum work. It all comes crashing together for one crazy conclusion, making this one of the best songs of the album.

Parody Catharsis comes in rather thin with a single guitar to follow behind the clean singing. It unexpectedly explodes and throws in plenty of other surprises throughout with its electric melody and headbanging moments.

On paper, Strawberry’s Wake follows everything that has been done right with the formulaic material found on Afterburner, but being seven songs in, I am starting to get pretty bored. It has the catchiness and melody but cannot stick the landing.

At least I got some caffeinated energy from Born To Fail. The cool and heat bang together then end up going into an intense descend that makes for a sweet highlight that makes up for some of the hiccups found before it.

Parallels is aggressively trying to beat out Lyrics Lie with its catchiness, to the point where the screams match the angelic singing. It manages to do this well by an impressive execution.

For the shortest track, Night Sway does not feel too condensed. It takes all that I know and puts it together in a nice, tight package. If it were to be any longer, then it would be too boring to handle.

The heaviest song is ironically one of the nicest titles, Say Hi. It surely says hi with some mean riffs and percussive power that can knock you on your ass. Even when the clean vocals get introduced after some aggressive screams, it does not let up off the pedal.

Nothing Shameful is quite shameful with its first collaborator on the album, Andrew Wells, who does not add anything to the song at all. The same goes for the actual band in this run of the mill filler track.

Thankfully we end on a high note in this weird hip-hop-inspired DGD sounding finale with Into The Sunset. Featuring ex-Attack Attack member Johnny Franck AKA Bilmuri, as he is in his side project that helped out the California based rockers. The chemistry is there, and the surprises do not let up throughout the album’s closer.

Afterburner has its problems, even with some strong songs have hiccups. The guitar work impresses early on but soon melds together, same with the vocal performances. Lyrically well written with some instrumental and vocal high points to make up for the lows.

Score: 7/10

Support the blog


Image via Rise Records


Album Review: I Am Abomination – Passion of the Heist II

The latest I Am Abomination record, Passion of the Heist II, shows that progressive metal can rise above the jokes thrown at it due to generic bands who use the term djent too frequently. It is equally beautifully melodic while having some head pounding riffs and breakdowns to satisfy hardened metalheads like myself.

Decimation is a slow burn with light guitar action and a radio broadcast playing in the forefront. Soon enough, the build pays off as the instrumentation blows up. It dies down and transitions fluidly into Judas. I have a pet peeve of these interludes not flowing into the next song, and thankfully this is as smooth as butter.

Breakdowns rarely get my attention, but the tasteful execution with Judas makes it a headbanging worthy track. It weirdly suites Phil Druyor’s angelic voice. Throughout the first full songs relentless with minor tweaks in the guitar riffs to give it life and not sound the same.

Coming in with hefty contrast, Ultraterrestrial has an explosive introduction of heavy riffs and aggressive drumming. Then everything seeps into the darkness for an atmospheric spotlight on the singing. I thought I knew what I was getting here, I got smacked with delightful hard-driving segments that swap back and forth with the more moody tone.

I knew Ben Duerr of Shadow of Intent appears later on, which made me beyond happy and I will go on about my love for him and Shadow, but I had my breath taken away from me when I saw Jesse Cash and JT Cavey of Erra popped up on Way of Sorrows. They fit almost too well, as it shows how much Erra and IAA sound similar. Once I got past it, I could appreciate the incredible vocal chemistry between the three singers while they all had time to shine on their own without feeling cramped.

While taking a step down in heaviness without Cavey’s screams, Lamb to the Slaughter brings in thicker bass lines, more substantial percussive power, and breakdowns that will surely break my neck. Although the solo was a highlight, it did showcase how it sounded too similar to some of the melodic riffs that have been featured so far in the album.

Second Death lays out some nasty bass lines with some slick guitar riffs. It cleans up afterward to match the cleaner vocal delivery. I wish it stuck with the initial direction, but it is still a worthy entry on the record.

Another satisfying transition as Second Death slides into The Greatest Sin. The chaotic one on PotH with a more powerful vocal performance compared to the previous tracks while still sticking to the same delicious formula.

Slowly coming from the underworld, Arcadia rises into a brief headbanging introduction before dying down to shine a spotlight on the singing. Even with the changing direction, it is relentlessly rhythmic.

Polyphia members Tim Henson and Scott LePage come in to lend a hand in the instrumentation of Heir to the Throne. Admittedly, I was worried as this is the longest song, which is not even that long, as it may overstay its welcome. Instead, I was greeted with a beautiful piano that transforms into a grand orchestra with a choir that adds to the epic feel of this track. Eventually, it turns into a fairly standard song then ends on a high note as the whole group and their collaborators go wild.

Settling down before the brutal finale, Martyr is a moody, atmospheric track that focuses purely on Druyor’s vocals. It lends itself as a great followup to Heir to the Throne.

Deicide features one of my favorite vocalists from one of my favorite bands, Ben Duerr, from Shadow of Intent. His unbelievably brutal range weirdly compliments Druyor’s high pitched singing in this heavy conclusion.

Passion of the Heist II is 11 tracks of solid music with some that stand out more than others, mostly due to excellent collaborations that were not thrown in for a brief moment that flies by without adding any substance. While every member kills it instrumentally, some of it blends together, so more variety across the record would help. That said, it is a must-listen for metalheads.

Score: 8/10

Support the blog:

Support the blog


Image via I Am Abomination



Video Game Review: Resident Evil: Resistance

It is hard to beat a unique game that gets packaged for free with another. Capcom did this probably because Resident Evil 3 Remake was short as hell, but a solid experience. Resistance, a four-against-one online title, has great ideas with the right execution but needs time to bake a little longer before being a worthy component to Jill Valentine’s nightmarish battle with Nemesis.

The premise is laid out like this, four players must go around a map to find pieces to a puzzle to unlock a door to the next area while a mastermind plants zombies and traps to stop the survivors from escaping. I love the idea, it is like Saw meets Resident Evil meets Dead by Daylight. It is thrilling yet frustrating, and I still find myself going back to it because I like the concept more than the actual experience.

Survivors need to race against the clock and add up time by killing the undead and placing puzzle pieces. Once I got the hang of it, my friends and I got slowly better at getting to the next area but never enough to win a match as it feels unfair in different ways.

The critique is partially based on my lack of skill, but some things are in favor of the mastermind who can drop your time by injuring and killing survivors. The level design is too tight, making it too easy to get overwhelmed by hordes of the undead.

Another issue comes from not being able to tell how close tougher enemies are to death. Damage numbers pop up on the screen when you bash, shoot, or explode the infected. For bosses like Mr. X and other of the higher tiered undead, it does deliver a good signal for how close they are to dying, unlike a health bar that would be more direct.

Plus, it is a pet peeve of mine when I see arcadey styled damage numbers come to the screen when I hit an enemy. It feels out of place for the art style of the latest RE titles.

Both masterminds and survivors all feel unique. Each character has their own abilities. Skills can be purchased and swapped out in the lobby as everyone prepares to escape or prevent escapees. Even though I got mad when another player took my main, I got to try someone else out as a survivor and enjoyed trying out new playstyles.

Resident Evil 3 Remake Screenshot 2020.04.03 -

The controls for survivors match how it is when playing RE 3 or 2 Remake. The exception is that it does not have a dodge button like the third installment. With the tight levels, it would be helpful to have a way to get away when being overwhelmed by incoming zombies or Mr. X, who is going to bash my skull into pieces.

Other than that, it felt fluid and as satisfying when shooting as it does in both remakes. The only issue I found was trying to hold F (I am playing on PC) to perform certain actions like picking up teammates, it did not always respond appropriately.

The survivors did get a helping hand with healing items and credits placed throughout the map at a consistent rate. Credits are used to shop in the safe zone for new weapons and equipment to arm yourself before heading out. It was a limited variety but had a positive impact on my survival. I do wish I got a different selection between areas as by the final are before escaping, it has the same offerings as the previous section.

Playing with friends in a lobby is not user friendly. Wanting to go into the shop for cosmetics, customize your loadout, or do anything means you have to leave and start up a new setup for your friends to join you in a match.

If you can play the mastermind right, you can crush survivors. That said, the controls felt less responsive and intuitive. Switching between cameras and my arsenal of traps and zombies was frustrating as I tried to do specific actions. Clicking on a trap or lifeless minion to spawn would get stuck if I was aiming at a spot that cannot place it in certain areas to close to objects, leading me to cancel then try it again on another spot.

I am certain I will play more after I write this review because it is irresistibly fun with friends. That said, I will go into my options to turn off the dialogue, mostly because the constant taunts from the masterminds are annoying beyond belief. Kill me or don’t, just shut up.

The AI problems must be an issue with the RE engine as both of the latest remakes and Resistance have the problem with zombies being unbelievably dumb by walking into objects and getting stuck. If you are a mastermind and the survivors are good, then you are at a big disadvantage if your minions decide to stumble into a chair for 10 seconds while someone opens up the door to escape.

Challenges and completing matches will grant you points to unlock equipment and cosmetic chests. The loot boxes are fair as the loot is not that bad, and getting enough credits to unlock gear is easy. I play two or three matches and can get some goodies.

The main technical issue I had was my audio stuttered in and out, then completely cut out. That was only for one or two games, and it did not completely crash my experience.

Resistance needs some quality of life improvements as little things pile on to hurt the game. Plus, I think some work needs to be done to find matches quicker as finding one as a survivor takes a couple of minutes, a mastermind can take up to five or more minutes. With some content updates and polish, I am sure this will be a great game to hop on with friends who love Resident Evil.

Score: 7/10

Support the blog by donating or buying the game:

Shop at CD Keys

Support the blog


Video Game Review: Resident Evil 3 Remake

NOTE: I will review the online title that came packaged with Resident Evil 3, Resident Evil: Resistance, in a separate review. This is purely for the remake of RE 3.

Capcom has brought Resident Evil back from the grave to its former glory since its seventh main installment in 2017 and last year’s excellent Resident Evil 2 Remake. One year later, bringing the third entry of the ridiculous zombie franchise to the modern age seemed like the right move. In many ways, it was, but so closely related to 2019’s hit and a lack of innovation on the original game’s mechanics brings this highly anticipated action-horror title down a notch.

Resident Evil 3 Remake Screenshot 2020.04.03 -

Happening before and during RE 2, Jill Valentine (Nicole Tompkins) wakes up to Raccoon City on fire with a horrifying monster named Nemesis and the undead flooding the streets. In typical RE fashion, she and new-found friends like Carlos Oliveira (Jeff Schine) must try to save the city and get to the bottom of what is happening. I never played the original game, similar to my experience when playing last year’s remake. Still, despite having knowledge of what will most likely happen due to the many sequels that came since 1999, I felt the thrill of trying to save an already doomed metropolis.

The acting is a great improvement, especially as the franchise tends to suffer from that end, the dialogue is written better. I know it changed from the initial release in the late 90s’, yet what makes it more enjoyable is that it does not have nearly the same amount of awkwardness as RE 2. I hate to overly compare the two, but it is impossible not to in this situation and hell, the flirting between Leon (Nick Apostolides) and Claire (Stephanie Panisello) was laughably cringy, despite their best efforts when delivering great performances.

Resident Evil 3 Remake Screenshot 2020.04.03 -

The live-action introduction was a stylish way to start that immediately got diminished with a jarring first-person section with Jill before heading into the standard third-person view. Even in the normal perspective, the field of view was too close, even at maxed settings. My eyes got used to it, but at times it was painful.

The new RE engine introduced a few years back with Biohazard continues to satisfy with its enhanced gameplay. The guns feel gratifying as chunks of zombies get blown to bits, and moving around feels better than ever with an added dodge mechanic.

I know it is a staple for Capcom’s Fast and Furious styled zombie games, but inventory management and crafting is so fun, yet stressful. Finding gun powder when I need ammo with full pockets got my brain going as I try to figure out how to stuff everything and not leave one little item behind.

Despite being in the city, the level design keeps it tight like its predecessor’s police department. While I did not feel scared at all unlike my time with RE 2, I was stressed enough in a sadistically thrilling way. I do adore exploring to find little hidden gems, and backtracking never feels punishing in the best of the RE games, like this 2020 remake.

A gameplay staple in the franchise that it mostly omitted comes from the puzzles. One or two pop up which are decent but the lack of obstacles for my mind, even if at an elementary level, takes away from the variety in what I was doing throughout. I found myself mostly gathering things to unlock a new area and fight off whatever zombies came my way.

Nemesis is essentially a faster, stronger Mr. X. Despite that, I felt he was underutilized. Popping up here and there only to push you forward as you run away without posing any real threat.

The boss battles felt very 90s’ in the worst way possible. Even the lesser of the Resident Evil games manage to have some epic fights that feel deserved. Here, these showdowns are easy and repetitive without much to impress.

Collectibles only consist of bobbleheads to find, sadly, but the documents still match the quality I expect. It is a good relaxing time to read a file about people’s misery or uncovering a piece of paper that expands the universe.

The AI matches the level of intelligence found in RE 2. Zombies walking into walls with their heads turned to me. They know I am there, yet they will get stuck on an object or really want to rub their cheek against a wall.

The coldness of the undead populated Raccoon City does not hinder its beauty. A destroyed city with breathtaking lighting and graphical fidelity makes for one gorgeous game that enhances the horrors that surrounded me on my adventure.

I played on PC, which ran like butter on my 144Hz monitor and at a steady 200+ FPS. One issue I found is seeing enemies in the distance, they tend to look like they were stuttering a little.

After beating, there are not second playthroughs or much to entice going back in. A shop unlocks and gives you points based on the challenges you completed. It had basic items along with unique weaponry like a heated blade to burst zombies and monsters on fire and a select few guns with infinite ammo, but even those fun toys did not make me want to jump back in anytime soon.

I completed my playthrough in four hours and 43 minutes. The quality of it does not match the $60 price tag for me, even with the amount of fun I had, so go buy it on a discount in a few weeks or months. Resident Evil 3 is a flashy remake that falls short due to its younger sibling’s success and lackluster mechanics that do not bring anything to the table.

Score: 7/10

Buy the game and support the blog:

Purchase here, and I will get compensation.

Support the blog