Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Let The Con Begin!

Denver Comic Con is coming. This week. In two days!

This year, we're going to get off of the show floor for a lot more of the con. And my wife, who VERY kindly watched the table for us in years past, will be able to walk around and see WHATEVER she wants. And she'll be with her sister.

We're going to have a lot of awesome content this year, too. Panels, interviews, and (hopefully) a ton of pictures. In years past, I haven't done a lot with panels. I moderated three, I think, our first year, and I wasn't really near the events again until last year, though Michelle and Emily got to do a lot with the events. Last year, of course, I got to sit on a Space Opera panel, but THIS year, I get to moderate a Writing Star Wars books panel with TWO AMAZING AUTHORS!

There's a lot more to look forward to, as well, and I'm seriously excited about it! This weekend, along with our last recording day, is going to get us content that lasts almost through the end of August. It's going to be a jam-packed year, and that's before we even start to consider all of the exclusive content that's going up on our Patreon.

So, final question: what do you want us to try to cover at Denver Comic Con?

Denver Comic Con is one of our favorite events of the year. And Giles is more excited than ever!

Monday, June 26, 2017

You Should Be Volunteering

I've grown up either volunteering or being volunteered for things. When I was a kid I thought it was annoying to be required to donate my time and talents, but as an adult, I don't think I could stop if I tried. Last week I volunteered at a kids' camp called Royal Family, an organization that provides camps, clubs, and mentors for kids from foster care. 

I adore this camp. For five days, pairs of adults act as camp counselors to a small group of kids. We do all the typical camp stuff, but there's an underlying purpose of building kids' self esteem and guiding them toward success. It's one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do, but knowing that I helped make some kind of difference in the world is immensely rewarding.

If you've been thinking about volunteering–whether it's as a mentor, at the food bank, or even for an organization like Habitat for Humanity–I say go for it. It can be hard to find the time, but even a couple of hours can change the course of someone's life.

Volunteering lets me share my talents, gets me involved with the community, and helps me contribute great things to society. So many people complain about the world being a terrible, dark, awful place, but too few people do very much about it. We can change the world. All we have to do is find a cause we care about and step up to the challenge.

Michelle is still recovering from camp food and the exhaustion of late nights and early mornings.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fanfic Fun

In high school, I was a fan fiction fanatic. I loved reading it and writing it and hearing about other peoples' ideas for it. I've always been one of those fans who gets entirely too into whatever fandom I'm currently enjoying, and I could never get enough of headcanons and theories and alternate universes and all the other fun things people do in fanfic.

Toward the end of high school or beginning of college, I kind of slid over into the "fan fiction isn't real fiction" camp and shunned everything to do with fanfic. I stopped writing it, I didn't read any of it, I rolled my eyes when someone told me a new chapter had come out on something I had previously enjoyed. Yeah, I turned into a sob. It was a dark time in my fan life.

What's really interesting is that, since I'm on an indefinite hiatus from 'normal' fiction at the moment, I've started back up on fanfic. I don't know if there's a correlation or not, but over the last few weeks, I've been devouring a handful of fics on Archive of Our Own and poking at a goofy one of my own. There's something freeing about not needing to do the worldbuilding or character development in order to tell a story. Plus it's fun to play with someone else's characters for a while, and put your own spin on them.

Long story short, I'm remembering how much fun this side of fandom is, and I'm so glad I got over my silly little snob phase.

What about you? Do you read or write fanfic? What are your favorites?

Emer isn't sure whether or not her current fanfic will ever see the light of day, but it's fun to work on. She's also posting last-minute cosplay tips and a preview of one of her DCC costumes for our patrons over on Patreon. Throw money at our faces so you don't miss you!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Spy Fun

When it first aired, one of my favorite shows was Burn Notice. I got super into it and watched every week. Then I got married but never bought cable, which left me out of luck for a while. Then they brought it to Netflix.

We watched all the way through Season 5 (maybe 6, but I can't remember for sure), and then we saw an episode that changed everything for us (yes, I'm talking about my wife, here). It was such a hard turn that it almost ruined the show for me. However, I've been craving this show again for a few weeks, now. And since I missed the final episode of Psych before they removed that from the streaming service, I had another show that I really wanted to finish up.

Emily and I started watching Burn Notice from the beginning. It's just as exciting as I remember, fun, funny, and it's been so long since we watched that I don't quite remember everything that happened.

Yes, part of me wants to finish Sons of Anarchy, Hell on Wheels, Longmire, and Frontier. But Burn Notice doesn't take itself as seriously as those shows do. That's nice for me. I like serious, tense shows. But Burn Notice has enough humor that it's a far more relaxing show to watch. And I'm not nearly as exhausted by it as I am with some other shows.

What are you rewatching? What about rereading? (I'm currently rereading Storm Front by Jim Butcher.)

Giles doesn't always revisit old shows or books. Except How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Friends, and Leverage. And Harry Potter (the books). But the ones he goes back to hold a special place in his life.

Friday, June 16, 2017

A Secret for Our Blog Readers

Pssssst. Wanna hear something really cool? Something that's getting announced here before it's anywhere else?

Our Patreon is live!

Cue confetti showers and ear-bleeding vuvuzela serenades. Cue happy screaming and excited flailing. Cue one (or three) of us co-hosts sobbing in the corner and wondering what we've just done.

Okay, kidding on that last one. Mostly.

But, yes! You can now officially become a patron of Beyond the Trope and help us afford all sorts of cool things like, you know continuing to do what we do, upgrading our gear, and getting to more conventions--which all add up to better-quality, more ridiculous content for you, our fabulous listeners. You can also get cool things like a meme of the month made by one of us, or a super-special Q&A Google Hangout during our monthly recording sessions. Not that we're biased or anything, but we think that's pretty nifty.

All of our content--this blog and the podcast itself--will remain free and available for everyone, so don't worry about that! The Patreon feed just comes with cool behind-the-scenes extras, more nerding out, and the knowledge that you're an awesome person helping an awesome podcast.

Pretty sweet, right? And, because you're here reading this blog, you're one of the first people to hear about it! If you like our show, please help us out by becoming a patron and/or helping us spread the word! We seriously can't do this without our listeners, and we appreciate each and every one of you.

Emer is psyched about so many things right now! She's putting together last-minute cosplays for DCC after all, the Patreon is live, the new DLC for Final Fantasy XV is coming out many things to be excited about!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Big Push

It's June. We have some serious stuff going on this month. Not just the Patreon Launch (it's coming, keep looking!), but we also have Denver Comic Con (not a first, but still big for us).

This year will be different, though. We don't have a table, and we're involved in a few different panels. Oh, and one of us (not me, but pay attention to the feed) will get to moderate one of the Main Events!

As such, the blog posts are going to be a bit lighter over the next couple of weeks. We need to focus on the con and the launch. The good news is, when we come back, we'll have some awesome content!

In other news, Giles is working on his book like there's no tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A New Obsession

I've found a new show I really like: Riverdale. Netflix recommended it to me based on how much I like Supernatural, and I decided one evening, while waiting for Season 12 of Supernatural to show up, that I'd give it a try.

I've never read any of the Archie comics, but when I found out this was a "darker" take on the world, I knew I had to check it out. And I am SERIOUSLY pleased! The show is so good. It's a murder mystery with drama, action, and fun, simple romance. Many of the characters make the same, dumb, "this problem would be solved if we JUST COMMUNICATED" mistakes, but then they actually go and make real-life choices, including COMMUNICATING, solving their problems (eventually), and asking for help when they need it. They even own up to their mistakes.

The acting is okay, and the scripting falls a little below "par" in quality at times. But the tension, story arc, and character development are incredible!

If you haven't checked it out, yet, go do it. It's dark, serious, and a ton of fun.

Giles is definitely obsessed. And very sad that he only has three episodes left in the season.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Movie Review: Wonder Woman

If I could, I would simply fill this post with a heck-ton of heart-eyed emojis. I'm not joking–I enjoyed it so much, I could forego actual words.

I'm not going to talk about the fights going on over this movie. I don't really care. For me, the question isn't which audiences are pleased or displeased with the final product. All I really care about is whether the movie accurately encompass the spirit of one of the coolest classic superheroes out there.

I, for one, say YES. Yes, it does. Don't worry, I won't spoil any of the major plot points–just know that this film is fantastic. Gal Gadot is my new hero. I read another reviewer who said her performance was "charismatic", and I couldn't agree more. She was electric. But then, the entire cast did a splendid job. I was fully immersed in the world, and it was only later that I began to remember that many of those actors were better known in other roles.

And the screenwriting. Yes. Also yes. So much yes. The intense action is seasoned with funny one-liners that had the entire theater laughing out loud. I would like to digitally shake the hands of those writers. Thank you for bringing such a powerful story to life.

In short, DC did it. OMG. They made a great movie! It's possible, people! I'm looking forward to the next few DC films, and I hope they continue to improve their storytelling.

Michelle now wants to learn to leap up off of a running horse to shoot bad guys with her mad archery skills. BRB, just off to craft her new armor-based workout outfits...

Friday, June 2, 2017

Steven Universe Soundtrack Release

Guys. Guys. The official Steven Universe soundtrack comes out today! I'm so excited! I love the music in this cartoon so much. Seriously. "Here Comes a Thought" actually helped me stave off a panic attack for half an hour a few months ago. This entire soundtrack always makes me smile, and I've been making do with covers since my roommate introduced me to the show.

And now Cartoon Network is officially releasing the soundtrack with the actual voice actors (including Patti Lupone as Yellow Diamond). Happy early birthday to me!

What's so great about the music of Steven Universe? Have a bulleted list because reasons.
  • It's all fun and lighthearted. 
  • There are a variety of musical styles, depending on the song and the character singing. 
  • A lot of the songs (like the show itself) handle themes a lot of others don't touch on (like dealing with anxiety in "Here Comes a Thought"). 
  • They're pretty short songs, generally two minutes or less, so it's easy to listen to when you don't have much time 
  • Surprise feels! (Omg, talk to me about "It's Over, Isn't It?") 
Basically, I'm super excited to finally have an official version of this soundtrack and I'm going to be blasting it in my car all summer. You can't stop me. Join me and grab the soundtrack on iTunes here! Then we can all be Crystal Gems together!

 Emer is an episode or two behind on Steven Universe, due to waiting for her roommate, so please don't send her spoilers! She's also really hoping to see some awesome Crystal Gem cosplay at DCC. Not that she's obsessed or anything. Of course not.