Thursday, December 29, 2016

2017: Stuff I'm Looking Forward To

2017 seems to be shaping up as a pretty big year in terms of fun stuff - movies, TV shows, video games, etc. - coming out. The big question is, with all of this stuff, how will I ever get anything done? We shall see.

Movies that I plan on watching and writing about in future Movie Roundup posts:
- Wonder Woman. Yes, I will give it a chance. Don't let me down again, DC.
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Because, Marvel movie.
- Spider-Man: Homecoming. Because, Marvel movie and it's Spider-Man.
- Logan. Because, an R-rated Wolverine film? Finally
- Thor: Ragnarok. Because I think I may be the only person on the planet who liked The Dark World better than the first one.
- Power Rangers. Will this be anything like the gritty 2015 short film? I'm guessing no.
- Justice League. Assuming Wonder Woman is at least ok. Oh who I am kidding, I'll probably see it anyway.
- The Lego Batman Movie
- Despicable Me 3
- Kingsman: The Golden Circle
- And, of course, some little flick that doesn't even have an official title yet known only as "Star Wars: Episode VIII."

TV shows that I will clear time in my schedule for because I don't have a DVR:
- Doctor Who. The new Christmas special was silly and fun. It's cool that they're keeping Nardole around.
- The Magicians. Oh man, I cannot wait for this. Is it January yet?
- Miraculous Ladybug. Assuming they actually show it in the U.S. Comcast, why did you take this off of your On-Demand list? It's your best show
- Legion. Maybe. I'll watch the first one and see if it hooks me.

Video games that my daughter will watch me play while she creates her amazing artwork:
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Duh. I've only been talking about this for a few years now.

Assuming that I'll be able to get anything done amidst all of this fun stuff (and I will, I promise), there is also a little something coming out in March or April called Legend of the Loudstone. Stay tuned for the Big Announcement.

P.S. "Rejoice for those around you who have transformed into the Force." - Yoda

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Movie Roundup: Holiday Edition (Feat. Rogue One)

I can't believe I'm writing this post, because it means that the year is almost done. Time goes by so quickly that I guess we must be having a lot of fun, right? Fun = a partially-functioning TARDIS that only sends you forward in time. Anyway, I'm getting off track here. Welcome to the holiday edition of Movie Roundup! If you've been here for previous Roundups, you know that (1) these are not really reviews, they're just my random thoughts about movies I've seen, and (2) there will be massive, massive spoilers. So if this is your first Roundup, consider yourself warned.

Doctor Strange
I was really excited to see this movie for some reason, despite the fact that I was never a huge fan of the character in the comic books. Although, I have been enjoying the iteration of Stephen Strange in the Ultimate Spider-Man series, and the previews looked amazing. So did I like it? Yeah, I guess I did. The effects were pretty mind-blowing, although the story itself was kind of meh. The way he defeated Dormammu in the end was cool, although it reminded me a bit of another Doctor and how he broke out of the Confession Dial prison last season (a fantastic episode).

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
My first impression of this film after I watched it was "you know, I liked that more than I thought I would." I guess I didn't really know what to expect going in. Does anyone else think that Newt Scamander is on the spectrum? Oh, and Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald - no thanks. Not sure why they didn't just get Jamie Campbell Bower to do it. Maybe they felt like they needed some kind of flashy hire, like the Los Angeles Rams trying to lure Jon Gruden out of the announcer booth?

The Jungle Book
I wanted to see this one because they apparently filmed the whole thing in a Los Angeles sound stage and created the entire jungle environment with CGI. My thinking was that "hey, if that approach works for this movie, then they could do that for the Spectraland movies as well." So did it work? I thought so. It also helped that this was just a great, well-done story (yes, the original source material is terrific, but modern reboots can sometimes muck up old classics). I think I actually enjoyed this one more than the first two movies in this Roundup.

Rogue One
And that brings us to our headliner. This is a movie for Star Wars fans. If you're not a fan, you will probably be bored and confused. If you are a fan, then let me tell you, you are in for two hours and thirteen minutes of sheer bliss (in case you're wondering, I fall into the latter category). It's like the best Star Wars fan film ever made, which makes sense when you consider that the director is a fanboy himself and he had a gazillion-dollar budget to work with.

Bullet point thoughts:

- I had heard bad things about the Tarkin and Leia reconstructions going in, but I thought they were fine.
- Vader's gait was kind of a feminine sashay, don't you think? His boarding scene at the end was awesome, though. Wow.
- I have to admit, Chirrut Imwe's mantra started to become a little annoying after a while.
- I love love love how they made the Death Star flaw into an actual thing. You know what I mean.
- The music was serviceable, but not memorable.
- Why would Vader and his crew even consider the possibility that the Tantive IV was on a diplomatic mission at the beginning of New Hope? Didn't they see it coming out of the rebel flagship that had just attacked the Imperial facility on Scarif?
- Please, Lucasfilm, don't make it so that Jyn survived and becomes Rey's mother or something like that. I'm begging you.
- I plan on seeing this one again. And again. And again, probably.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Snow Day, Spectrums Magazine, And Book Three Title Announcement!

All of us here at the Brian Tashima Blog are taking a snow day today!
But be sure to come back next week when we'll be doing the special holiday edition of Movie Roundup, including my comments on Rogue One (which I already have IMAX RPX 3-D super ultra mega awesome smellovision tickets for so no amount of snow is going to keep me from seeing it). See you then!

UPDATE: We are featured in the hot-off-the-presses current issue of Spectrums Magazine! Check it out here. We're on page 18, but the whole issue is worth reading. There will also be print versions distributed throughout the Portland/Vancouver area over the coming days, snow or no snow. Big thanks to Spectrums for the article!

UPDATE #2: I just realized that I made a first-time announcement about Book Three's title in the Spectrums article, so go check it out! A direct link to it is here. Man, this snow day turned out to be pretty eventful!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Status Report!

It's been ten weeks since the last set of status updates, so you've all probably been wondering what's been going on, right? Of course you have! Well, wait no longer...
Book Update: I finished 10,000 words (approximately 40 pages) of Book Four's first draft when I received the Book Three line edit back from my editor, so now I've switched out my writing hat (which I imagine looks sort of like a fedora) for my incorporating-the-edits hat (a Doctor Who-type fez). The cover art process is also underway, so right now we're still on track for the planned launch date of March or April 2017. And as I promised in this post, there will be a big announcement to come.

Also, this coming Saturday I will put on my reading/signing/selling hat (a beanie) for the third annual Holiday Litera-Cheer event at Another Read Through Bookstore in Portland from 1:30-3pm.

Band Update: I'm a big believer in second chances, so if you missed the first CD release party in Vancouver, you can still join us at the Ash Street Saloon in Portland tonight!* Festivities start at 8pm and we will again be playing every song off our second album, Nobody's Hero, in order from beginning to end. Also on the bill are the ever-rockin' Cellar Door and the always fun Kings & Vagabonds.

The writing process for Album Three is well underway. We have ten songs that are basically done music-wise; now I just need to hunker down and crank out some lyrics. It's looking like this record will also be a quasi-concept album (like Nobody's Hero), and this time it'll focus on a female protagonist named Gloria whose prequel story was told back on our first album, Fortress Storm Attack. More on that later.

Video Game Update: While we all anxiously await Breath of the Wild, I've been passing the time with the virtual console versions of Spirit Tracks and (at my daughter's request) Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team. Spirit Tracks is fun and challenging - because it's a Zelda game, duh - but I have to admit that the dungeon I'm on now (Tower of Spirits, Part 6) is so long and difficult that even with a walkthrough, it was starting to feel like work. So I switched over to Blue Rescue Team, which is light and fluffy but gets a bit repetitive after a while. Been eyeing up Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE and wondering if I should plunk down the sixty bucks...

TV Update: Speaking of light and fluffy, I've been pretty good at keeping up with Supergirl, which moved to The CW for its second season. I also started Attack on Titan, which is definitely not light and fluffy (nor young-kid-friendly) by any means. Can't wait for the Doctor Who Christmas special and season two of The Magicians starting next month.

So there you go, Captain. And Mr. Sulu was just kidding about the entire ship being underwater, I promise.

* If Snowmaggedon 2016 doesn't happen, that is

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Release Party Recap

Mahalo to everyone who braved the rain and made it out to Shanahan's last Saturday for Second Player Score's CD release party! I had tons of fun and I hope you did too.
We shared the stage with 100 Proof and The Welkin Dim, both of whom seriously rocked. Always cool to play with other great hometown bands.
Rockradam, my good friend and former Tone Deaf Teens bandmate from Hawaii, made what is now becoming his biennial surprise visit, along with Mr. Jones, another good friend from Hawaii who recently moved to the area. It was awesome to see them.
So in case you missed it, you'll have a second chance next Thursday, December 8th, at Ash Street Saloon in Portland, where we'll be playing with Cellar Door and Kings & Vagabonds. It'll be a great time!

Oh, and then the Saturday after that (the 10th), I'll be putting my author hat back on and appearing at this year's Holiday Litera-Cheer reading & signing at Another Read Through Bookstore in Portland from 1:30-3pm, along with the other brilliant authors listed below. Come and hang out with us, there will be food!
See you all next week!

P.S. On Sunday, Rockradam and I went to eat at the local Cafe Yumm, after which we left to go watch the Seattle-Tampa Bay game. A short while later, this happened. So even though that was a dismal performance by the Seahawks in the actual game, at least they saved us from getting smooshed. Thanks guys!