Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanks

One of the major themes of Secret of the Songshell ("Book One") is the concept of appreciation and being thankful for the things that you already have. As Art says on page 5, "You can simply choose to be happy with life the way it is, rather than chasing after things you don't have." So, in the spirit of today's holiday, I've asked some of the Book One folks to tell us one thing that they are thankful for. Have a great day everyone!
Taylor: "My Nintendo 3DS."
Darkeye: "Knowledge, which translates into - hic - power."
Alison: "My wonderful kids, Joel and Taylor."
Greenseed: "..."
Suzi: "Health."
Chief Raintree: "A good meal and a nice hot cup of lifepod wine. Well, I suppose that is two things."
Art: "Everything."
Suntooth: "My fellow villagers."
Julio: "This awesome band that I just discovered."
The Queen Lightsnake: hssssssssss
The Heathwraith: "THE ARRIVAL OF THE ONE WITH THE SIGHT."
Nineteen: That I am alive and well.
Chief Fourfoot: "World domination!"
Fireflower: "The Aura."
Marshall: "Rock stardom."
Felicity: "Diet soda."
Joel: "Um...music, I guess?"

Thursday, November 20, 2014

More Bad Guy 101

As I mentioned in a blog post from back in January, it seems like most fictional villains all go to a school called Bad Guy University (BGU), where they learn how do to things that eventually lead to their own defeat.
Here are a few more recent examples (spoiler-heavy, so they're hidden under the jump). It's good to see that BGU is still churning out quality graduates!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Liveblogging With Felicity: Doctor Who Season 8 Finale

I've watched "Death In Heaven," the Doctor Who Season 8 Finale, a couple of times already, but since we haven't done a liveblog in a while (and since I can't stop thinking about the episode), I'll be watching it once more with Felicity, who you all know and love as Joel Suzuki's co-star in The Spectraland Saga. So, here we go! (obviously, spoilers to follow)
F: U know that I've never watched this show before, right
B: Ur kidding
F: Why would I be kidding
B: You've never seen any episodes of Doctor Who, at all?
F: I just said that
B: Ok well I think you'll really like it
F: How do you know
B: Hold on it's starting
B: That's cool and hilarious how they put Clara's eyes in the intro
F: If you say so
F: So she's Doctor Who?
B: Well, no
F: I thought it was this old guy
B: It is
F: Confusing
B: Just keep watching
F: Those things are like Iron Man
B: They only just started flying in this episode
F: Oookay
F: Hey Joel can do that and he doesn't have OCD
B: he has the Sight
F: Right
F: Why did they stun the old guy Doctor Who
B: You'll see
F: So the rain turns dead people into Iron Men
B: Yeah basically
F: Okay then
F: Ima grab a soda
B: Come back quick
F: Whatever
B: Hurry up commercials are over
F: I assume you understand what they're talking about here
B: Actually I had to look up a couple of the references
F: Shame on you
F: Turn in your nerd card
B: Ha
F: Old Guy Who is kind of a jerk
B: Now ur getting it
F: President of Earth? Seriously?
B: Just play along
F: I assume they'll explain why one Iron Man just killed the other ones
B: Correct
F: How did fake Doctor Who get into that graveyard
B: That's actually kind of a good question
F: I like that lady
B: Missy?
F: I guess
B: Yeah, she's fun
F: It's Hey Mickey, not Hey Missy
B: Right
F: Really? glasses girl is gonna go over there? That's like so classic horror movie stupid
B: I know I know just go with it
F: okay, what is the deal with those guards??? did she freeze them beforehand or something??
B: Yeah ok this part is a little strange i'll give you that
F: that bugs me
B: Just keep watching
F: So I guess Danny is her bf
B: Yup
F: Why is this monk dude answering the phone
B: That's the Doctor
F: I thot the old guy was the doctor
B: I'll explain later
F: y would she just throw her phone away, those things are expensive
B: Ha
F: Wait, is old guy who her bf too or something? its like a love triangle
B: Why do you say that
F: Seems like Danny Iron Man is jealous
B: No, it's complicated
F: This whole show is complicated
B: Just keep watching
F: Hey u have one of those screwdriver things on your desk
B: I do!
F: You get ur nerd card back
B: Thanks
F: Mary Poppins? Really?
B: It's funny! and subversive!
F: If you say so
F: Shouldnt Mickey have made more of an effort to get her remote back
B: Yeah I thought so too
F: Shouldnt michey try to get her bracelet back while danny iron man is yelling
B: Yes yes I know
F: Shouldnt she run away or something while they're deciding who's gonna kill her
B: I suppose, but there's more to it than that
F: Of course there is
F: hey that blue color means she's not dead
B: You caught that!
F: Joel's not the only one who can notice stuff like that
B: I'm impressed
F: Whatever
F: Who is this guy now
B: The Brigadier
F: The what
B: I'll explain later
F: I need another soda
B: help yourself
F: I"m actually kinda digging this unhappy ending
B: I kinda figured you would
F: Oh wow his reaction to her special thing reminds me so much of Joel
B: Yeah
F: Santa Claus? Seriously?
B: Sure why not
F: So are they gonna have Einstein and Sinatra too?
B: Wait, what did you say?
F: Nothing
B: So you have been watching the show!
F: Ur out of soda again

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Release Party Recap

I got down to the Sandy Hut early, about half an hour before the official load-in time. I know that's not very rock 'n' roll, but I like to be able to find parking (I got a space right next to the front door), settle in, and soak up the vibe of the venue. Plus, I had band merch to set up.

Shortly thereafter, a couple of the guys from Laurelhurst arrived. We hung out at the bar and talked music and Trailblazers basketball for a while, and then the rest of my band showed up, as well as the guys from Kings and Vagabonds. After a short meeting with Jimmy, the booker/soundguy, we proceeded to load in our gear as well as the rest of the merch.
Once that was done, I was sitting at the merch booth fiddling with my phone (I have to take off the case in order to use the credit card reader) when a familiar guy walked in and sat down. At first, I was like, "hey what's up" before a split second later, I realized that the guy was my good buddy and ex-bandmate from Hawaii, who had made a surprise trip all the way up to Portland! Turns out, the other guys in my current band were in on the surprise as well, so we all had a good laugh. It was definitely a very cool way to get the night started.
The show began soon after, with Laurelhurst taking the stage. I had never seen them before, but I had heard the one song they had up on their Reverbnation page and I really liked it, so I was looking forward to hearing them live. They didn't disappoint. They played a fun, rocking set of pop-punk tunes that included a cover of "She" by Green Day which I shouted along to.
The next band up was Stab In The Dark, a heavy yet melodic hardcore punk band that we had played a bunch of shows with before. They are always awesome and I enjoy being on the bill with them, because then I get to rock out in the audience.
After Stab was some band called Second Player Score.
Finally, closing out the night was Kings and Vagabonds, an eclectic, funky, super-tight group that is reminiscent of early Chili Peppers. They really brought the energy (I headbanged so much to their set that I had a good old-fashioned neck ache the next day) and were a great way to cap off what was an awesome and fun night.
Much mahalos to Jimmy and the Sandy Hut, all the bands, and everyone that came out to celebrate the release of Fortress Storm Attack with us.
See you at the next show!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

CD Release Party!! And Other Happenings

For all of you in the Portland/Vancouver area, come on down to the Sandy Hut this Saturday for Second Player Score's CD release party!
Three other awesome bands will also be performing: Laurelhurst, Stab In The Dark, and Kings and Vagabonds. We'll have CDs, T-shirts, and other swag for sale. Feel free to wear your leftover Halloween costume from the night before. Should be a rockin' good time! If you can't make it, our CDs are available here, or as digital downloads here.

Other random quick hits:
- I'm still playing Hyrule Warriors. I thought I would have gotten tired of it after a relatively short period of time, as there isn't much to it beyond wiping out hordes of enemies, but even after completing Legend Mode (in three different difficulty levels) and unlocking all the characters in Adventure Mode, it's still a lot of fun. I guess button-mashing can be a really cathartic release after a long day of rewriting dialogue and fixing up plot holes.
- I've been enjoying Star Wars: Rebels and the current season of Doctor Who much more since their debut episodes, which I thought were kind of meh. Speaking of which, the latter is almost over already, can you believe it? The previews look great - can't wait.
- Speaking of great previews/can't wait, I'm sure you've all seen this. Can it be May already?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Believe Me, I Am Still Working On Book Two

You know what's crazy? That there is a Kikaida reboot movie out and I didn't know about it until a couple of weeks ago. You know what else is crazy? That I have been working on Book Two almost every day now for nearly twenty-six straight months.
Yes, over two years.

Now, the last time you heard about it from me was back in July (three months ago, holy cow), at which point I said that "the Book Two rewrite is coming along nicely - not much else to report there."

Well, that was true, at the time. Since then, though, I've actually gone back and pulled elements from some older drafts and synopses and incorporated them with some new ideas, all in an attempt to craft a story that is as strong as it can be while still following the overall series arc that I've envisioned. I've always been a stickler when it comes to plot holes in other people's works, so I like to try and make my own stuff as airtight as possible.

So, in a nutshell, the rewrite has not been progressing in a smooth, linear fashion - it's been a lurching, stop-and-start process, to say the least. At one point I found myself wishing that I had some kind of magical book blender...like, you know, I'd dump my several hundred pages of notes and drafts into it, push a button, and then - voila - out comes a delicious smoothie of a perfect, completed book that kept all the best ideas and strained out the not-so-good ones. I guess that's not really what a blender does. But you know what I mean.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that I have not forgotten about Joel and Felicity's next great adventure - quite the opposite, actually. Just bear with me, and I promise, we'll get there eventually. Probably not by the time the Kikaida reboot movie comes out on DVD (which is this December - can't wait!), but hopefully sooner than later.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Musical History, Episode 16: The Harmonies Change Everything

All right, so as you know from the last episode, I had reunited with the drummer from Upper80, and we had been knocking about sort of informally, just having fun and playing some tunes from the old days. It was a welcome distraction from whatever else was going on at the time, and after a while, we decided to get a bass player and give it a go - but, of course, only as a hobby, definitely not meant to be anything serious.
As is always the case (because - say it with me - no one actually wants to be a bass player), we cycled through a bunch of bassist candidates, even finding one that I thought would last for while, before finally, one day, we crossed paths with a dude who - despite the fact that he originally played guitar - actually did want to play the bass, was a good fit, and was even from Hawaii, to boot. We settled on a name that I had been wanting to use for some time (this is where it came from), and off we went.

At first, we played a mix of originals and covers, including everything from Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know" to "Seek And Destroy" by Metallica to "Synchronicity II" by The Police. We did a bunch of shows around town, including the launch party for Book One and the Rock For Autism fundraiser for The Children's Occupational Therapy Charitable Trust. It was a rockin' good time, but, again, that's all it was really meant to be.

Then, one day - I don't remember exactly when - we decided to try and add some vocal harmonies to one of our songs, specifically, "Gloria." I don't really know why we did it; I suppose it was just something fun to experiment with. After a lengthy trial and error process, we finally got it, and the results were...pretty dang amazing, actually. Seriously, it was like we were playing an entirely different song.

So, encouraged by that success, we figured - in true mad scientist fashion - "why not add harmonies to all of our originals?" We started that process while we played a bunch of shows that featured punk rock versions of '80s classics (including an "'80s Night" at Mickey Finn's - Devo hat FTW), until eventually, the newly-harmonized originals just sort of took over and we decided to focus completely on doing our own stuff. In fact, it was so much fun, we found ourselves booking time with a recording engineer that I had worked with before to make some sweet-sounding tracks.

And what do you know - just like that, without even really realizing it, I was back in the band business. And, this time, it was fun. It just felt right. We finished recording ten songs with the aforementioned engineer and decided to release them as a proper album, which we chose to call - nerd alert - Fortress Storm Attack.

And that pretty much catches us up to today. Thanks for coming along on this ride through history with me. Honestly, it really feels like it's all gone by in a flash. But that's how it is when you're having a good time - most of the time, anyway.

Hey, so tonight, tune in here as we do a live interview on Anarchy Radio starting from 8pm Pacific Time!