Thursday, April 19, 2018

Best Cat Songs

Taken from an August 24, 2017 Facebook post:
Cat Moon Rising
Cat in Black
You Cat Always Get What You Want
Cathole Sun
Suffragette Kitty
I Cat Drive 55
(I Cat Get No) Satisfaction
Caturday in the Park
I Cat Go for That
Cat Medicine
Paradise Kitty
I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do Cat)
Fade to Cat
Where It's Cat
Hey Cat, Nice Shot
We Built This Kitty
Don't Look Cat In Anger
Who Can It Be Meow
More Than A Feline
Love is a Cat-tlefield
Just Cat Get Enough
Cat Resort

There were literally hundreds more.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

My Musical History, Episode 17: Dan Grows Out His Hair

This is a continuation of a series of posts that left off back in - gasp - October 2014? Has it really been that long? How does that even happen? I'm telling ya, there has to be some sort of weird time travel thing going on here.
Anyway, since that time, the band that I talked about in that 2014 post has been, well, rather busy. We released our first album, recorded and released our second album, and played a whole bunch of shows along the way. We also put out our first official video (for a song off of our upcoming third album) and even had an adult beverage based on one of our songs brewed up and served on tap.

Then, last Friday, we played our biggest show to date - opening for Jonathan Davis of Korn at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland.
Needless to say, it was a lot of fun. We did a short set that included songs from all three albums as well as our now-signature cover of Dramarama's "Anything, Anything".
We were followed by Palisades, a really cool post-hardcore band from New Jersey, and then, of course, the mighty Jonathan Davis, who absolutely killed it with his new solo material.
The venue staff and the crowd were amazing and awesome. Hoping we get to do something like it again soon!
So that's the latest chapter in my musical history. Stay tuned for Episode 18, which I'm thinking will not take another 3.5 years to come out...?

P.S. If you're in or near the Salem, Oregon area, check us out tomorrow night at The Space! It's an all-ages show, and we'll be joined by our good friends The Toads and Hot Sheets. $5 cover - a bargain, if you ask me - and it starts at 9pm. See you there!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

A Post That Is Sort Of About Baseball

As some of you may already know, I'm a fan of certain spectator sports; namely golf, American football (I've tried to get into the Rest-of-the-World version, but so far, not much luck), basketball, and - probably most of all - baseball.
As I've said multiple times before, I know that sports fandom is, at its core, pretty silly - to paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, we're all basically just rooting for laundry - but it serves as a fun distraction, and I think that, when done right, it also helps to bring communities together by giving people a common experience to rally around. And like with any other performance-based form of entertainment, it's also exciting and inspiring to watch individuals with extraordinary talent doing their thing on a large stage.

But anyway, I'm writing this now because the 2018 Major League Baseball season has begun, and for fans of the Seattle Mariners, there's a bit of nostalgia in the air as Ichiro Suzuki is back! If you've read this previous post, you know that Joel Suzuki is partially named after Ichiro, who at the time had recently been traded to some East Coast team that shall remain nameless.

So far, Ichiro has added a couple of hits to his prodigious career total and has also made an incredible home run-stealing catch out in his new perch in left field. I'm not sure I'll be able to get out to Safeco Field any time soon to see him play one more time (I've seen him plenty in the past), but hopefully he'll be productive enough to stick around for at least a little while longer.

And also hopefully this will finally be the year that the Mariners break what is now the longest playoff drought among the four major professional sports leagues in North America, rather than breaking their own assorted limbs and other body parts (which is already happening at an alarming rate - I'm telling you guys, PLEASE stop with the upside-down trident logo already).

In years past, during spring training (which, for those of you who aren't familiar, is the baseball equivalent of the preseason), while the players were building up arm strength and getting their swing timing down, my preparation for the season would usually consist of practicing two things for when the inevitable meltdowns and other gut-punch losses would occur: (1) my Kif-style sighs, and - something that annoys my kids greatly - (2) saying "And that's the game!" as soon as the team falls 4+ runs behind (a phrase that I borrowed from Mario Super Sluggers).

This year, though, despite the use of the upside-down trident logos AGAIN during spring training, I've decided to try to keep a continuous positive attitude. So far it's been working to the tune of a 3-2 record, but it's a long season, so we shall see. Maybe if all of us Mariners fans wish hard enough, Felix Hernandez will continue pitching to contact and getting quick outs (whoops - I wrote that line before yesterday's game), James Paxton won't spontaneously combust and leave a little green globule on the mound, and the team will actually win enough games to sneak into the second wild card berth. One can only hope. Right?

Go M's!*

* Note for fellow grammar geeks: this is a contraction apostrophe, not a possessive

Thursday, March 29, 2018

A Gathering Of Tweets

I started up a Twitter account under my name back in November 2009. I then proceeded to ignore it for the next 8+ years (along the way, I did create an account for The Spectraland Saga, which, as you know, eventually morphed into the Joel Suzuki series).
A couple of months ago, though, I decided to dust off the Brian Tashima account and use it to broadcast the silly and mostly nerdy thoughts that occasionally pass through my mind. No promotional tweets about Joel or my band or anything else, just bits of random nonsense that you may or may not get a chuckle out of, depending on your interests. Here's a sampling of what I've been putting out there:

January 24
I've seen all kinds of methods for generating your Star Wars name, but I think the best one is to just spell your name backwards. Me: Nairb Amihsat

January 25
For fans of the "Death Note" manga/anime: I would never want to find, much less use, an actual Death Note. I would, however, more than welcome a "Minor Inconvenience Note."

March 24
I wish they would produce a new episode of @MagiciansSYFY every week until the end of time.

March 25
Using Sakura in Fire Emblem Warriors feels almost like cheating. #buttonmashing

So if you like that sort of thing, feel free to follow me at @briantashima (I know, such a creative handle). If you also want the more promotional and informational stuff about Joel Suzuki and Second Player Score, you can follow them at @joel_suzuki and @SecondPlayrScor (our drummer, Kyle, handles the latter account).

P.S. Totally unrelated, but check out this video for some creepy sounds! Apparently this is what was being broadcast on 96.7 FM in Portland on 10/26/17. Precursor to Halloween, perhaps?

Thursday, March 22, 2018

AWP 18

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure and privilege of participating as a panelist (how's that for alliteration?) at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs' 18th annual conference in beautiful Tampa, Florida.
I had been invited by Melissa Hart, author of Avenging the Owl (a great book, highly recommended), to be part of a panel on Disability in Children's Literature. Melissa herself couldn't be there, but I still had two awesome panel-mates: Naseem Jamnia* and Rachel DeWoskin.**

The panel itself went really well. I estimate we had around 40-50 people in attendance - great for a Saturday afternoon panel - and there were lots of good questions at the end. Naseem was our moderator and she did a fantastic job. Rachel and I both read a little from our books and then we all took turns fielding questions that Melissa had prepared in advance as well as some others that we had come up with earlier in the day.

As for the rest of the conference, I had an amazing time. Listening to other authors and publishing industry people talk about writing and related subjects all day long was like being the proverbial kid in a candy store. There was even a panel about writers who are also musicians! The days flew by and I met a lot of terrific people. Overall, the experience was both energizing and inspirational. Next year's conference will be right in my backyard (Portland, OR, to be precise) so I can't wait!

*Naseem is currently shopping her manuscripts around, but in the meantime, you should check out her terrific writing skills here.

**Rachel has a number of books out, one of which I read cover-to-cover on the way to Tampa, and another that I read cover-to-cover on the way back. I couldn't put either of them down. Do yourself a favor and check out her catalog.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Joel Suzuki: A Historical Recap

As long-time readers of this blog know, there have been a number of posts in the past that talk about how the Joel Suzuki series got started and how it's evolved into what it is today. If you've just recently discovered Joel and/or this blog, I'd like to provide you with this handy roundup of Joel-related posts so that you don't have to go digging through or binge-reading nearly six years' worth of posts - although you're certainly welcome to do that if you wish!
Old-timey B&W photo
Okay, so the Joel Suzuki series was originally known as the Spectraland Saga. Here's a five-part series of posts from 2015 and 2016 that talks about the series' origin story (apparently there were supposed to be more parts, but I never got around to writing them):

The Spectraland Saga: Origin Story, Part One
The Spectraland Saga: Origin Story, Part Two
The Spectraland Saga: Origin Story, Part Three
The Spectraland Saga: Origin Story, Part Four
The Spectraland Saga: Origin Story, Part Five

Also, the series was originally going to be seven books. Here's an important post that explains the reasoning behind that decision:

Why Are There Going To Be Seven Books?

Here are some posts that contain little factoids and trivia about the series:

Happy New Year and Spectraland Saga Factoids
Secret of the Songshell Factoids
Spectraland Q&A

A couple of popular posts showed some examples of which actors might be cast in a Joel Suzuki movie adaptation:

Secret of the Songshell: Celeb Comps
Casting Call

And finally, here's the post that explains how the Spectraland Saga morphed into the Joel Suzuki series, and how it expanded from seven to eleven books (now called "Volumes"):

And Now, The Big Announcement!

So there you have it - a historical recap of Joel's journey to date. If you haven't read the series yet, you might want to start with the first six chapters of Volume One because they are now available for FREE, simply by signing up here!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

No Pants, No Heroes, No Problem!

As mentioned in the last Statii Update, my band's second album Nobody's Hero has been re-released by Portland's own No Pants Records. We're proud to be on the roster of a local, homegrown label that is dedicated to supporting independent artists.
In case you didn't know, Nobody's Hero is a concept album that tells the story of a warrior who is granted magical powers by an evil spirit. At first, he tries to use them to perform good deeds, but eventually he succumbs to temptation and ends up destroying the world. It's a bit darker and more sword-and-sorcery-ish than the Joel Suzuki series (think Beowulf or Dragonslayer).

And now, to celebrate its re-release (and to give our fans something else cool to enjoy), we've unleashed a piece of flash fiction that fleshes out the story a bit more, with mini-chapters based on each song. It was co-written by me and the other members of the band, and it even features audiobook-style narration by Tryston Blyth of Neue Regel Radio (his accent is fantastic and a perfect match for the story).

It's freely available to check out on the Second Player Score website - just go here. Then after you've read and listened, let us know what you think!