Thursday, November 25, 2021

Random Thanksgiving Thoughts

The tryptophan in turkey does not make you sleepy. The overeating does. And, depending on your beverage of choice, the overdrinking. And also quite possibly having to watch the Detroit Lions play football (hey, the Seahawks are 3-7, so my favorite team's not doing so hot, either).
Speaking of football, which would you rather have as an official national holiday: the day after the Super Bowl, or the day after Thanksgiving? My answer: how about both? And get rid of Daylight Saving Time while you're at it, please.

On the subject of giving thanks: thank you to Dan, the bass player in my band Second Player Score, for turning me on to this hilarious song & video by the popular Malaysian recording artist Namewee. It's been stuck in my head on a continuous loop for days, and during the rare times that it hasn't, I've consciously reminded myself about it due to its effect as a natural antidepressant (your results may vary; do not take medical advice from a writer/musician).

The word "bakayarou" (Japanese for, let's call it, "big idiot"), as heard at the end of the aforementioned song/video and in a good amount of anime shows is, besides being very rude (WARNING: DO NOT SAY THIS WORD IN JAPAN!) is also probably one of the hardest, if not the hardest, Japanese words to pronounce. It's spelled "ba-ka-ya-ro-u" but is pronounced something more like "ba-ka-yaero" with a sort of weird combination "ah-eh" sound. What this has to do with Thanksgiving, I have no idea (Brian, you bakayarou).

Speaking of Japan, turkeys are not really a thing there, at least from what I've heard (despite my seeming expertise, all my knowledge about Japan actually comes secondhand from books, anime, and the Internet). Something about there not being enough space to raise turkeys, or whatever. But Kentucky Fried Chicken at Christmas is a big deal.

For some reason, I seem to have a thing about writing scenes that take place on Thanksgiving. Like in Volumes Four and Five of the Joel Suzuki series. Or in the unproduced screenplay currently known as Jinx, featuring Joel's cousin April Hayashi. Here's an actual excerpt from the script:

    Ralph goes back to eating. J.J. leans over to April.

    J.J.: Sorry about that. I don't know why Thanksgiving family drama always has to be a thing.
    April (chuckles): No worries. If you think this is bad, wait until you meet my family.

This raises all kinds of questions for me. Like, since April's family is basically Joel's uncle, aunt, and grandparents, would whatever drama that occurred have been confined to them, or would it have included Joel and his immediate family? And if so, would this have been before or after Joel's parents got divorced? What kind of drama took place? And could said drama be the reason why Joel and his family are eating Thanksgiving dinner by themselves during the events of Volumes Four and Five, even though they live in the same city (Seattle) as April and her parents? I'm really curious to know the answers...oh, wait, I guess I would need to write them, wouldn't I? Maybe I should work on that while Volume Six is with my editor next month...

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Portland Holiday Market

Do you live in the Portland/Vancouver area* and are looking for something fun to do this weekend that doesn't involve staring at your computer screen? Then consider checking out the new Portland Holiday Market at the Portland Expo Center! It's going on from Thursday (today) through Sunday, 10am to 6pm each day. It'll be a great place to do your holiday shopping, especially if you are interested in BOOKS.
I say that because one of the exhibitors is none other than the illustrious Northwest Independent Writers Association, who will be there with all kinds of great books for all kinds of great people, including the Joel Suzuki series (I won't be there, but my books will, pre-signed). Of course, there will be lots of other cool stuff there as well (including Santa), so definitely check it out! You can find more information on the event here.

* or elsewhere and have access to a mode of long-distance transport, like a car, an airplane, or a TARDIS

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Dates For December

No, not dates as in "meet-me-for-drinks" or "dinner-and-a-movie,"* but actual, literal calendar dates when cool stuff is happening next month:
November 24: Hawkeye on Disney+ (okay, it's not starting in December, but close enough)
December 3: Release date for the first single from Second Player Score's upcoming EP, Four-D: The Autumn Suite
December 16: Aggretsuko season 4 on Netflix
December 17: Spider-Man: No Way Home in theaters AND the release date for the second single from Four-D: The Autumn Suite
December 22: The Matrix Resurrections in theaters and on HBO Max
December 29: The Book of Boba Fett on Disney+
December 31: Due date for the initial manuscript edit/evaluation for Joel Suzuki, Volume Six
December 5, 12, 19, 26: boot camp pre-production sessions for a special Second Player Score project (details forthcoming)
January 1: Doctor Who special (okay, not technically December, but close enough)

Fun and exciting times!

* Felicity says: "are those really the best date ideas you can come up with? No wonder you're still single."

Thursday, November 4, 2021

April and Lydia Recap the 2021 MLB Season

Hey there, baseball fans! Yes, now that the World Series is over, it's time to do our traditional recap of the season with our in-house baseball experts/die-hard Seattle Mariners fans, April Hayashi and Lydia Sanchez.
Brian: Welcome.
Lydia: Or, you mean, youkoso. That's Japanese for "welcome," right?
Brian: It is.
Lydia: See, April? I've been studying.
April: Good for you.
Lydia: Did you know what that word meant?
April: I did not, actually.
Lydia: What? What kind of Japanese person are you?
April: The American kind?
Brian: Okay, let's get to baseball, please. What did you think about the World Series?
Lydia: At least the Astros didn't win.
April: Kind of interesting that an 88-win team took it.
Brian: Gives you hope for the Mariners.
April: Exactly.
Brian: Speaking of the Mariners, let's move on to them, since there's a lot of ground to cover.
Lydia: For sure. Fun differential, baby!
April: Your new favorite expression.
Lydia: That's right.
Brian: The end of the season was pretty fun, actually. Winning 90 games and almost making the playoffs was a pleasant surprise.
April: For a while there, I thought they were going to make Lydia's preseason prediction of 92-70 come true.
Lydia: But then the Angels had to go and mess it all up.
Brian: What do you think should be the team's priorities for the offseason?
Lydia: You go first, Grape Ape.
April: Well, I know lots of people are saying that the Mariners should open their wallets and spend big on free agents. Personally, though, I'm kind of wary of that.
Brian: How come?
April: A number of different reasons. For one, getting locked into an expensive, long-term contract can really hamstring your flexibility down the line. Two, you really have to be sure of the reasons that a free agent's current team isn't trying harder to retain them. Is it a budget issue? Are they rebuilding? Do they have a young player at the same position they want to see play? Or is it that maybe they just don't value the free agent player enough? And three, you also have to be sure of the player's character - like, once they cash in, so to speak, will they lose some of their motivation? I just think you have to be really careful with free agency, overall.
Brian: I guess a lot of it depends on how much you trust the judgment of the front office.
April: Yeah. I do like their philosophy of trading for well-regarded prospects who are blocked with their current teams. I think that's the new Moneyball. So, I prefer that route.
Brian: What about you, Lydia?
Lydia: I want them to sign Kris Bryant, Marcus Semien, and Max Scherzer! Oh, and that Suzuki guy, too. Not your cousin, April, the outfielder from Japan.
April (laughs): I know who you're talking about. Are you serious? You want them to go all in like that?
Lydia: Heck yeah. Live for today! Besides, I think the fan base would riot if they didn't sign at least one of those guys.
Brian: Maybe the amount of options in the market will help keep the prices reasonable.
April & Lydia: I doubt it.
Lydia: Jinx!
Brian: Yeah, you're probably right.
Lydia: Besides, honestly, I think they really have to go for it over the next year or so. I mean, you can always trade those guys later if it doesn't work out. Or, if you get stuck with an albatross contract, at least you know you gave it your best shot.
April: True.
Brian: Okay, how about we wrap up with predictions for the regular season awards. Go.
April: You first this time, Lyd.
Lydia: American League MVP, Vlad Jr.
April: Not Ohtani?
Lydia: I still have a grudge against that dude for signing with the Angels.
April (laughs): Okay.
Lydia: Cy Young, Gerrit Cole. Rookie of the Year, Not Jarred Kelenic, obviously. I'll go with Wander Franco. And Manager of the Year, our own Scott Servais.
Brian: Those are some good choices. What about the National League?
Lydia: I don't care about those guys.
Brian: Very well. April?
April: AL: Ohtani, Robbie Ray, Arozarena, and Servais. NL: Soto, Wheeler, Jonathan India, and Kapler.
Brian: All right, well, we'll see what happens on November 18th. Thanks for being here today.
April: You're welcome.
Lydia: You mean, dou itashimashite.
April: Wow, you really have been studying.