Thursday, October 19, 2017

Statii Update

Wow, it's been over four months since the last Statii Update! Let's get right to it.
Book Update:
Had a great time at both the Barnes and Noble B-Fest as well as the Fall 2017 Portland Home and Garden Show. Thanks again to Bjorn Sorenson for setting up the former and Roslyn McFarland for arranging the latter!
Volume Four is at 62,000 words and counting. It's kind of at that tricky stage now where the whole thing is like one of those puzzles where you have to make sure all the pieces interlock at the same time. But it is coming along nicely, and I'm still on track for having the initial draft done before the end of the year.

Band Update:
Lots happening on this front. We finished recording three songs for our upcoming third album and are now boot-camping the next three. We just wrapped up filming a video for one of those songs. We found an artist for the graphic novel/comic book that will accompany the aforementioned third album. We also wrote a story outline for the second album that will be narrated by the amazing Tryston Blyth from Neue Regel Radio and released as bonus content. Whew!

TV Update:
I am loving TV right now. The Handmaid's Tale? Excellent. The new Tick? Even better than the old one (I know, how could they find a replacement for Patrick Warburton? But they did it). The Good Doctor? Apparently a hit, and deservedly so. The Orville? Lots of fun and way better than I - and a lot of other people, apparently - thought it would be. Still need to catch up with Rick and Morty, though. And where is the new Miraculous Ladybug??

Video Game Update:
Now that Breath of the Wild is basically over, I've started on Stardew Valley, which just came out for the Switch and was reviewed on this very blog by our special guest blogger Connie Jasperson a couple of months ago.

I have to admit, I'm not very good at these "lifestyle" kind of games where the gameplay is really open-ended and there isn't a single defined goal like defeating Ganon or whatever. The first few times I tried it, I ended up working myself to exhaustion and passing out in my farm. I thought I finally got the hang of it, but then my daughter saw the plots I had dug to plant my seeds in and she laughed and said "why does that look so weird?" And so far, my meal choices have eerily resembled my real-life dietary habits (spaghetti and beer six days a week). But really, I think most of my problems come from the controls, which for some reason are so confusing to me that I had to take a picture of the screen where they show you which button does what.

At any rate, I have been having fun playing this game so far, if only for the fact that it gives my daughter enjoyment when she sees how terrible I am at it. And anyway, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is coming out soon...

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Indie Author Day

This Saturday is the second annual Indie Author Day! But really, for us here in the beautiful Vancouver/Portland area, it's more like Indie Author Extended Weekend, because the Fall 2017 Portland Home & Garden Show is taking place Thursday (that's today!) through Sunday at the Portland Expo Center.
As always, the Northwest Independent Writers Association will be there in full force, thanks to my good friend and fellow local author Roslyn McFarland (seriously, check out her books. You won't be disappointed.) I will be there in person tonight from 6-8pm, Friday night from 6-8pm, and Saturday from 11am-2pm to sign books and possibly give away inside info about Volume Four to anyone who's interested (which is everyone, amirite?)

But if you can't make it during those times, come on down anyway, because Joel Suzuki will be there the whole time (in book form) as will lots of other great local authors who write awesome books in a wide variety of genres, so there'll be something for everyone. And while you're at it you might even find some cool stuff for your house or garden!

Portland Expo Center
2060 N Marine Drive
Portland, OR 97217
Thursday 11am-8pm
Friday 11am-8pm
Saturday 11am-8pm
Sunday 11am-6pm

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

You Guys Age Funny

The 21-and-over nature of last week's post - because of the beer talk - prompted Joel and Felicity to finally sign up for Facebook accounts, mainly so that they could comment on my announcement of said post where I essentially told them that they were too young to read it. Felicity offered up her usual snark ("whatever") while Joel pointed out that technically, they're both over 21 depending on what timeline you used. This caused a bit of confusion in the household known as my brain, so I decided to call the two of them in for a little family meeting.
Brian: Thanks for being here today.
Joel: Um, you're welcome.
Felicity: This better be quick. I'm teaching a karate class at four-thirty.
B: All right, so Joel - you said that you and Felicity are more than twenty-one years old?
J: Well, yes. You see, in April of 2012, I was sixteen, while Felicity was eighteen. And since my birthday is July 17, and hers is July 21, then technically, since it's now October of 2017, that would make me twenty-two years old, and her, twenty-four.
B: I guess I understand that logic, but...you're actually now only seventeen, and she's nineteen.
J: I know.
B: You know?
J: Yeah. We're seventeen and nineteen, but we're also twenty-two and twenty-four. Kind of at the same time.
B: Huh? I don't get it.
F: Does it really matter?
B: I'm just trying to understand.
J: It's a timeline issue. This is what happens when you get involved with things like alternate dimensions, multiple realities, quantum mechanics, and so forth. Time moves a lot slower on Earth than it does on Spectraland, relatively speaking. And then when you throw in time travel, it makes it even more complicated.
F (with terrible faux-English accent): "It's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff."
J (with similarly terrible faux-English accent): "Timey-wimey? Do you have to talk like children?"
(Joel and Felicity laugh, exchange high-fives)
B: Okay, as much as I appreciate the Doctor Who references, I'm still not sure I'm getting it.
F (sighing): All right, I really have to run, so I'll try to make this simple for you. You know the comics you like to read, in that thing called a...a...
B: Newspaper?
F: Yeah, that. And you know how the characters in, like, say, "Sally Forth" or "Luann" seem to sort of get older, but really slowly?
B: I guess.
F: C'mon, you know what I'm talking about.
B: Well, yeah, okay, sure. Like how Luann went from being thirteen in 1999 to being eighteen in 2014.
F: Exactly.
B: But those are cartoon characters. You guys are...
F: Are what?
B: People. With actual Facebook accounts.
F (looking at Joel): We are, aren't we?
J (shrugs): I'm pretty sure we are.
B: So are you trying to tell me that two-dimensional cartoon characters have access to time travel?
F: Sure, yeah, why not. Can I go now?
J: I don't think that's really her point. She was just trying to give you an example of how some people can age slower than others.
B: Oh, like how Kyle keeps getting carded when he tries to order a beer.
J: Um...
F: Yeah, no. It's nothing like that at all. Look, can we continue this some other time? My students get really antsy when I'm late. They start breaking all the boards and stuff.
B: All right, fine. Joel, can you stick around?
J (glancing at Felicity): Well...
F: He's coming with me. He has to...iron the black belts.
B: Do people really do that?
F: Of course they do. Later!
J (waving): Bye.
B: Grrr

Will Brian ever learn the secret behind Joel and Felicity's aging process? Will Felicity make it to her karate class before her students start breaking things? Do cartoon characters really have access to time travel? Tune in next week when we present the shocking conclusion to..."You Guys Age Funny"!*

* or not

Thursday, September 28, 2017

A Blasphemous Collaboration (Guest Post By Kyle Gilbert)

Today's guest post is by Kyle Gilbert, a person who - unlike some of our other recent guest bloggers - may or may not be from an alternate plane of existence. No one really knows for sure. What we are sure of, though, as most of you who read this blog already know, is that Kyle is the drummer for Second Player Score, the band that I play guitar for. What you may not know is that Kyle is also an avid and talented homebrewer (of beer. Just thought I should make that clear.)
In this post, Kyle will not only tell us the story about how he got into homebrewing in the first place, but also about a very special show that Second Player Score will be performing in November. Because this post talks about beer, I first want to stress that we here at the Brian Tashima blog strongly encourage all of our readers to make responsible life decisions, do everything in moderation, and listen to your parents and teachers. And second, before you can read the post, you will have to swear that you are twenty-one years of age or over. So, sorry Joel and Felicity, you guys are gonna have to wait until next week. (Felicity's note: who cares)

Did you swear? Okay, good. So now, Kyle will take it away...after the jump!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Give More 24! And B-Fest!

Today is Give More 24! What is that, you ask? Why, it's 24 hours in which you can make a positive difference in the world by donating to one of 125 nonprofit organizations based in the Southwest Washington area. "Sounds great," you say, "but which organization should I donate to?" Well, each organization is definitely worthy of your support, but allow me to make a suggestion: Autism Empowerment.
Why, you ask? Well, because not only are we dedicated to improving the quality of life for people and families in the autism community both locally and worldwide via our various programs, support groups, events, resources, and more, but also because we promote a global culture of acceptance for people of all abilities.
If that sounds good to you, then simply go this link and make a donation. Even just the minimum of $10 will be greatly appreciated. All donations are 100% tax-deductible, and best of all, giving feels good! I know this first-hand, because not only will I be donating today, but I also donate to Autism Empowerment (on an ongoing basis) one dollar for every Joel Suzuki book that is sold.
Speaking of Joel Suzuki, this Saturday afternoon I will be at the Barnes & Noble in Vancouver as the featured fiction author for the annual B-Fest Teen Book Festival! The event - which is family-friendly and free to attend - will not only include Joel Suzuki, but also writing workshops, trivia, games, prizes, and local poet Shaindel Beers. The fun starts at 1pm and lasts until 6:30 or so (I'll be leaving at around 3 or 4, so get there early). The store is located at 7700 NE Fourth Plain Blvd., Vancouver WA in the Vancouver Plaza. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Casting Call

In this Spectrums Magazine interview from last winter, I was asked "Why is it important to you that autistic actors be cast in some of the leading roles (of a possible Joel Suzuki movie adaptation)?" Part of my answer included me saying "I'd like to give people in the autism community the opportunity to show off their skills and break into an industry in which people with disabilities in general have been sorely underrepresented." I also said "It would be really cool if Dan Aykroyd and Daryl Hannah, both of whom are on the spectrum, would play roles in the film versions of my books. They're not quite the right fit for Joel and Felicity, of course, but we'd find roles for them for sure!"
So this morning, while thinking in the shower, I asked myself, "Well, what roles would those be? And who else would make a really cool addition to the cast?" Here's what I came up with.

Dan Aykroyd: Chief Raintree
Chief Raintree is the amiable leader of Spearwind village in Spectraland. He appears in all three books so far, and supports the Wavemakers during their conflict with the Silencers. He's not comic relief, but he does have a humorous nature that I think Mr. Aykroyd would be able to portray quite nicely.

Daryl Hannah: Guider of the Worthy
Guider of the Worthy (or just "Guider") is the leader of the Redivision movement in Volume Three. She's strong, fair, and authoritative - qualities that I think Ms. Hannah would have no problem bringing to the role.

Jonathan Cormur: Whitenose
Formerly known as Jonathan Murphy, this is the brilliant young man who narrated the audiobook version of Volume One. Check out his website here. I'm sure he would have no trouble playing a number of different characters from the Joel Suzuki series, but the one that I picture him as most for some reason is Whitenose, the Silencer guard who has a pretty major role in Volume Two and also makes a cameo appearance in Volume Three.

Mickey Rowe: Windblade
The first actor on the spectrum to be cast as Christopher in the stage adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mickey Rowe seems like he would be a good fit for Windblade, one of the members of the Wavemaker Order. As a bonus, he's from Seattle, which is where Joel Suzuki and his family currently reside.

Paddy Considine: Thinker of Deep Thoughts
An English actor - and a musician - who was diagnosed as being on the spectrum at age 36, he has a long list of credits that includes The Bourne Ultimatum and Hot Fuzz. His Wikipedia entry says that "he has played a number of dark, troubled, and morally or mentally ambiguous characters." So let's turn that around and cast him as Thinker of Deep Thoughts from Volume Three!

That's what I have so far. If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments or email me at joelsuzukiseries@gmail.com!

Joel Suzuki, Volume One: Secret of the Songshell
Joel Suzuki, Volume Two: Mystery of the Moonfire
Joel Suzuki, Volume Three: Legend of the Loudstone

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Volume Four Update: Over The Hump Edition

Four is a pretty important number in music - the 4/4 time signature, the Four Chords of Awesome, the Fab Four. There are also a lot of famous foursomes in fiction: the four houses of Hogwarts, the Fantastic Four, the four quadrants of the galaxy in Star Trek, the four main villages of Spectraland, the four...oh, but wait, this isn't an essay about the number four. This is a Volume Four status update!
At the time of the last update three months ago, I was at 28,000 words and said that "I stand an outside chance of finishing the first draft sometime before the holidays." Now, I don't really believe in jinxes anymore (except when it comes to watching professional sports - speaking of which, holy pigskin, Batman, it's football season again), but soon after I said that, some changes in my life occurred which made finding time to write a bit more challenging. Nothing bad or major, mind you, but nevertheless, it did throw a wrench into my normal schedule.

So at first, I'll admit, I was flailing a little. Volume Four went untouched for a while as I tried to adjust. I knew that somehow I needed to find a way to get back to it. I found myself wishing I had a Time-Turner or a TARDIS or a DeLorean or a Power Glove, which was funny because - sneak preview alert! - there's a time-travel element to the plot of Volume Four.

But since I couldn't find any of those things, I had to resort to more down-to-earth techniques. I used one that I had previously employed called "writing in my head." I made adjustments to my attitude and my personal routines. I brought in special guests, from this plane of existence as well as others, to fill in on this blog. I sacrificed a few personal enjoyment activities that were basically just self-indulgent time-wasters, like watching the last episode of Doctor Who's season 10 over and over and over again (although I still managed to binge-watch the new Tick, which is hilarious and amazing - the show, that is, not the fact that I binge-watched it). And really, I just kind of doubled down on the self-discipline.

As a result, I was able to mostly get back on track, and so now the first draft of Volume Four stands at - insert drum roll here - a healthy 44,444 words (kidding - it's actually 45,275). I passed the halfway mark in the story outline, which officially puts me over the hump. Finishing the draft before the holidays as I had previously hoped will be a stretch, but the main thing is that it hasn't been derailed altogether. With any luck, I'll be able to finish it before the end of the year, which still puts me comfortably ahead of schedule. That said, though, I would like a time machine anyway, mainly so I can watch "The Doctor Falls" a few more times (I've only memorized about 85% of the dialogue). Can someone help me out with that?