Thursday, July 30, 2020

Favorite Five By Five

I was recently invited to play a game on Facebook where we would name our top five-to-seven favorite songs by Billy Joel, who just so happens to be one of my five all-time favorite musical artists. It was fun, so I decided to reprint my list here along with my favorite songs from the rest of my top five (and remember, these are just my personal preferences and in no way reflect the "best" songs by these artists, because all art is subjective. I'm sure you probably have your own list - which you can feel free to share in the comments).

Billy Joel
5. You May Be Right
4. Sometimes a Fantasy
3. All for Leyna
2. Vienna
1. Honesty

Iron Maiden
5. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
4. Infinite Dreams
3. Aces High
2. Killers
1. The Trooper

5. Blackened
4. Damage Inc.
3. Seek and Destroy
2. Creeping Death
1. Battery

The Dambuilders
5. Shrine
4. Digitize
3. Smell
2. Drive-By Kiss
1. Slo-Mo Kikaida

5. Sweet Blue
4. Never Look Back
3. Stand by Me
2. Nakanaide
1. Hitohira no Hanabira

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Guest DJ Spot

Minasan, konnichiwa (hello everyone)! I have an exciting announcement. You see, every Thursday there is a radio show on from 2:30-4pm Pacific Time called "Gettin' Squatchy" hosted by my good friend DJ Dex where he plays the best pop-punk music from the Pacific Northwest and around the world - and for today's show, I will be the special guest DJ!
During those ninety minutes, I will be going by my alter ego alias "MC Manga" and I will be playing (with DJ Dex's help) some of my favorite pop-punk songs from - you guessed it - Japanese bands. Tune in and you'll get to hear hits from big-time anime theme song artists like Stereopony, Scandal, and Asian Kung-Fu Generation as well as awesome indie bands like Wait For Sunlight, Punk Ass Summer, and Sneakin' Nuts. A live chat room runs during the show so you can jump in on the fun and tease me about my substandard Japanese language-speaking skills. Anyway, hope you all tune in!

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Talking Baseball With April And Lydia

The last time we spoke to our in-house baseball experts/die-hard Seattle Mariners fans April Hayashi and Lydia Sanchez - a zillion years ago on March 12, 2020 - they offered their predictions about the upcoming Major League Baseball season. Later that very same day, MLB cancelled the rest of Spring Training and pushed Opening Day back two weeks. Four days later, they announced that the season would be postponed indefinitely due to a global health issue you may have heard something about.
Since then, there have been labor disputes (which we won't get into), spikes in virus cases (which we also won't get into), and KBO (Korean baseball) games played in front of empty stadiums and televised in the U.S. at ungodly hours in the morning. Now, finally, Major League Baseball will be starting its 2020 season next week, July 23...hopefully. And so, here to talk about it once more are April and Lydia.

Brian: Welcome back.
Lydia: Uh...yeah.
April: Thanks.
Brian: So, I was -
Lydia: You know, I'm starting to think that maybe this was a bad idea.
Brian: Why do you say that?
Lydia: No reason.
April: Lyd thinks that WE might be the curse.
Lydia: April, shh!
Brian: Wait, what do you mean?
April: Can I tell him?
Lydia: Ugh, all right, fine.
April: Okay, remember how you guys made a deal not to talk about Lyd's prediction from last year?
Brian: Because it seemed to have jinxed the Mariners?
April: Yeah. I mean, the day you published that post, the M's were 13-2 and in first place. Then after that, they went on to lose six games in a row en route to a 55-92 record the rest of the way and another last place finish.
Lydia: And then this year after we made all these predictions for this season, the whole thing blows up right after that. I mean, all we wanted for the team in 2020 was for the prospects to develop and get experience, but did that happen? No! Instead, the entire minor league season gets cancelled!
April: They'll still get experience.
Lydia: As part of that taxi squad, or whatever? You know that's nowhere near the same thing.
April: I guess.
Lydia: Plus, what if a bunch of players test positive and then even this 60-game-dealio gets scratched? I could definitely see that happening, especially since we're here, talking about this.
April: Lyd, we are not the curse. Seriously.
Lydia: I dunno...
Brian: Okay, let's hope we're not and then make some predictions for this shortened season, assuming that it does get played to completion. All right?
Lydia: You go, April.
April: Me?
Lydia: Yeah. I'm-a sit this one out.
April: Oh, c'mon.
Lydia: Nope.
April: Really?
Lydia: Yup.
April (sighs): All right. Well, I still think the Dodgers are going to win the World Series.
Brian: Fair enough. What about the Mariners?
April: In a shortened season, anything could happen, so it'll be kind of interesting. But in the end I'm going to say...23-37.
Brian: Last place?
April: Yeah.
Lydia: Nah, ahead of the Astros, who will finish 8-52!
April: I thought you were going to sit this one out.
Lydia: I'm still mad about those guys. And besides, if we're using our jinx powers here, me saying that they'll be bad will cause them to be good, but then since the season will get cancelled anyway, it won't matter in the end! Mwuahahaha!
April: I think you need some professional help.
Lydia: Nah, just a beer. Or three.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Haiku Hour

For those of you who don't know, a haiku is a Japanese poem that consists of 17 syllables divided into three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. I used to write these for fun when I was younger (I once wrote a collection of them for a college creative writing class assignment and called it "Haikus from Hell," much to my instructor's amusement) and I figured that since I've been getting back into Japanese culture that I would try my hand at them again. Bear with me:
Bunny in my yard
What could it possibly want?
I have no carrots
Intruder alert
Enemy cat detected
Wait it's just TV
Band rehearsal space
A stage show in my garage
Practice on Sunday
Look I made a meme!
Almost no one got the joke
Play Doki Doki
Why buy fancy beds?
Cats love cardboard containers
Boxtown, U.S.A.

As Captain America says: I can do this all day. But I'll spare you and stop here. For now.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Pandemic Products Review

All right, today we're going to talk about pandemic products - not products that are directly related to the pandemic (masks, etc.), but rather, products that I've tried out due to shortages of the stuff that I usually buy. And here to help me out are special guests Joel and Felicity.
B: Say hi, you two.
J: Hi.
F: Whatever.
B: Okay, so first off - due to the lack of regular Spam that I mentioned in this previous post, I ended up buying something called "Bacon Spam."
J: I thought Kyle brought over a bunch of Spam from another store.
B: He did, but I bought this before that happened.
J: Oh.
B: So, yeah, what did you guys think of this?
J: I thought it tasted fine.
F: Anything "bacon" has to try hard not to taste good.
B: It did have a richer flavor than regular Spam, I will say that.
J: Actually, what you used to buy all the time is Spam Lite, not regular. And regular Spam is actually called Spam Classic. And Bacon Spam is actually called Spam with Real Hormel Bacon.
B: True.
F: Surprisingly, Spam Lite has more sodium than Bacon Spam.
J: But Bacon Spam has twice as much saturated fat. And two-point-five-times as much regular fat.
B: Yikes. Okay, so what's the verdict - would we eat this again?
F: I would.
J: Since Kyle brought over a bunch of Spam - officially, Spam Less Sodium - shouldn't we eat all of that first?
B: Yeah, good point. All right, moving on.
B: So here we have "antibacterial ripe melon" hand soap. Which, for whatever reason, has been more available than the types of hand soap I used to buy.
F: Which were...
B: The "pear and coconut" and "honey citrus and shea butter."
F: Oh, right - you liked the "pear and coconut" because it's green and supposedly matches the color scheme of the house.
J: It really doesn't, though.
B: I didn't care for this "antibacterial ripe melon" at first because it doesn't lather up as well and is harder to wash off. But after using it for a while, I started to get used to it.
J: I thought Kyle also brought over a bunch of hand soap that he wasn't going to use.
B: He did, and we're using them in a couple of the rooms now, but the kitchen sink still needs the old-style soap containers, partially due to the size and also because the cats will probably attack anything that's different from what they're used to.
F: Ah, cats. Gotta love 'em.
B: Anyway, you guys have used this "ripe melon" soap, right?
J: Yeah.
F: Sure.
B: So, verdict?
J: I don't like it.
F: Me neither.
B: All right, I'll try to look for alternatives. But we still have a couple more to use up first.
F: Really, though, I'm just grateful that we have soap at all.
B: Sounds like you absorbed the lesson in appreciation that I was trying to impart in Volume One.
F: What? Volume One?
J: What is that?
B: Never mind. Okay, finally, we have -
B: "Select-a-sheet" paper towels. Which, for those who don't know, are the kind where the perforations come at smaller intervals so you can just tear off what is essentially half a sheet.
J: That seems smart to me.
F: What I don't understand is why you didn't use them before.
B: I actually did, but I had been finding that I never really used less than a "whole" sheet anyway, and I was paying a little extra for the additional perforations.
F: Ah.
B: But since the full-size sheet option seems scarce now, I went back to these. And you know what?
J: What?
B: I kind of like them. Having to use these has forced me to figure out ways to be more efficient with my paper towel usage and get by with a half sheet where before only a whole would do.
J: Well, that's good, but you already were pretty efficient with paper towel usage.
B: I was?
F: Yeah, because you'd reuse sheets. That's why there are always those little balls of used towels by the sink.
B: True. Anyway, I think I'll continue to use this variety even if and when the full-sheet option becomes more available.
F: Okay. Can we go now?
B: Sure.