Episode #100 Transcript: #OnBrand

Episode Number: 100
Episode Title: #OnBrand (listen to this episode)
Transcript by: Susan the Great
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Renay: Hello friends, I’m Renay.

Ana: And I’m Ana.

Renay: And you’re listening to Fangirl Happy Happy, episode 100!

Ana: Party time!

[music break]

Renay: On today’s episode, we are going to obviously celebrate ourselves because we’re at a hundred episodes! Congratulations, Ana.

Ana: Congratulations, Renay.

Renay: We’re also going to talk about the books we’re definitely gonna read before the end of 2017 to continue bringing you guys great bookish content. And then we’re going to discuss some podcasting memories and feelings.

[music break]

Renay: We have reached one hundred episodes.

Ana: What an achievement.

Renay: In fact, we’re actually above one hundred, technically?

Ana: What?!

Renay: For a while there we were doing smaller episodes before I realized that episodes were actually a lot of work no matter how short they were? Technically, we’re probably over one hundred but this is our official 100th episode.

Ana: This is terrible. I was counting wrong!

Renay: I’m sorry. It was my fault. You can blame me.

Ana: How long has it been? Three years?

Renay: Almost. Wait, when did we start?

Ana: I don’t know.

Renay: 2015? [silence] We’re professionals. This is amazing. We don’t remember.

Ana: Silence…

Renay: Who cares when we started! Who cares how long it’s been! we’ve reached a hundred episodes! We are super proud of ourselves.

Ana: We’re still here, we’re going strong, we have plans to keep doing this forever, or for as long as you guys listen to us. Ooh, actually, yes, actually, I can see myself just keep sitting here, chatting with you forever ’til the end of them time. Just two old ladies just sitting here chatting about cats, food, vegan food, and getting sick and and reading books.

Renay: And anal sex.

Ana: [sigh]

Renay: We’ve talked about it several times!

Ana: That came out of nowhere. I was not prepared for this comment, here I was talking about old ladies, dishing out gossip about books, and discussing our huge TBRs, and then anal.

Renay: We’re on brand.

Ana: Do you think we’ll be talking about the Hugo Awards by that point, too?

Renay: If they’re still around, probably.

Ana: The only thing that I could see that would put an end to the podcast would be obviously nuclear war and the apocalypse. We wouldn’t have internet anymore and we couldn’t talk to each other.

Renay: This got dark. We went from celebration to dark, Ana! What are you doing?

Ana: Being on brand.

Renay: [laughter] Well for now, there is no global thermonuclear war and we’ve hit a hundred episodes. A lot of podcasts just don’t make it, to a hundred episodes, because podcasts are really hard to maintain and work on and keep up. We have defeated the one hundredth episode glass ceiling. We made it.

Ana: That’s incredible.

Renay: My first podcast did not make it to even episode twenty, I think.

Ana: Why do you think that was?

Renay: Well, I was by myself. I didn’t know a lot about podcasting. I was very isolated. And unless you have a…

Ana: Great, great cohost.

Renay: Co-hosts matter, but unless you have an underlying reason for doing like a solo podcast, like a very strong theme, it’s really hard to keep it up over time. and I didn’t have a theme: my theme was talk to people about books. And that’s an okay theme but it’s not like, super, super specific. But Fangirl Happy Hour’s been great! There’s tons to talk about. There’s too much to talk about. there’s so much I want to talk about and there’s not enough time.

Ana: It’s true.

Renay: We have some celebrations and changes in honor of our 100th episode, but first: Ana, take it away.

Ana: First of all, we are celebrating with our hundred episode giveaway. We are on brand with this one, too. We’re giving away signed copies of Kate Elliott’s recently completed Court of Fives trilogy, which we both loved. And enter this giveaway for a chance to win it. And we’ll leave the link to the giveaway with our show notes. It’s also, guys, open internationally, because we want everybody to have a chance. We also have patreon changes. Renay! What are they?

Renay: Our patreon is going to be changing in a really big way, because we want to make things that we both have time for, and that bring us joy. We also want to have goals, to keep inspiring us and to keep us working and improving as, not only critics, but people, too.

The biggest change is our five dollar reward level. You will now begin getting patreon-only episodes. It took me some time, because I was very resistant, but I came around to it. And this was because, believe it or not, making episodes is less time- and resource-intensive than writing things. So for those of you waiting on fanzines that you 100% earned and you will get—I have not forgotten. Starting from November, we’re switching to patreon-only episodes for the five dollar reward level. It’s gonna be like Fangirl Happy Hour: After Dark! It’s gonna be great. I don’t actually know what we’re gonna discuss completely yet, we’re going to feel it out as we go.

Ana: It’s gonna be a literal happy hour. Without the drinks.

Renay: I mean, we might have some drinks. Sometimes they might be water, but that counts as a drink.

Ana: I don’t think it does. Quite. But, okay.

Renay: We’ve also created a few additional reward levels that we have no idea if people will want, but we’re gonna give them a shot regardless. There is a new fifteen dollar per month reward level, where space bees will get a shout out at the start of new months and have your names listed on our website as supporters. Also at this level, when we have guests you’ll learn about who the guests are before the episode airs, and you’ll get to submit a question for them to answer.

Ana: How cool is that? That’s so cool.

Renay: I think it’s especially cool because oftentimes you can ask short questions on social media, but it’s harder on social media to ask questions where the author has a chance to give a longer answer. so I think that would be a pretty cool reward. And we have awesome people on when we have people on.

Ana: Chances are you will get to ask Kate Elliott a question.

Renay: That’s true. Because she will be back.

Ana: Multiple times. So there you go.

Renay: And then we have a fifty dollar a month reward level which is a quarterly personal skype chat with both Ana and myself. We can talk about whatever you want: books, films, Tony Stark, grasshoppers…

Ana: Oh god. Let’s not talk about grasshoppers.

Renay: No, we have to. They’re paying us.

Ana: [whispers] Oh my god.

Renay: This is a pretty intense level, so basically we’ll discuss whatever you want and we’ll work it out with you ahead of time. This level is limited to ten only though because we’re both pretty busy and we want to maximize the available time we have for the people who choose this level, so if you like it feel free to jump on it. Or don’t.

Ana: No, do. Do! Do it.

Renay: Or don’t, and wait, because I suspect because I suspect that many of these slots will be available at any time, in perpetuity.

We also have brand new goals. There’s a lot of them, so if you want the full list hit us up on Patreon. We have some really neat things planned into the future, and Ana really tried to value our time, knowledge, and expertise. She had to lead me along a little bit.

Ana: Yes, Renay. Value yourself.

Renay: The goals most relevant to y’all will be the $300/month goal which is what will allow us to do an episode-by-episode discussion of a tv show voted on by all our patrons, from a list, and yes that’s right $1 patrons, you will be able to get in on this action too. Yes it’s—you can live your dream by voting in a poll.

Ana: Please get us to watch Lost. Because I would love to watch Lost again.

Renay: The $600 goal is the goal that will help us create quarterly film commentary. That goal is basically that we pretend to be white men and give you our thoughts on films, while eating snacks.

Ana: Who doesn’t want that?

Renay: This is basically your dream, Charles, because by their nature these episodes will be unedited and at least an hour and a half. Watch as this is the episode he skips and he never knows.

Ana: As if.

Renay: There are two other goals that I wanna mention. The first is the $800 goal and the second is the $2000 goal. Both of these are pay-raises for our transcriptionist. Susan does really excellent work for us, very quickly, but it’s really important to us that we make it a goal that as we level up, we lift her up with us. So that’s why those two goals are there.

Ana: Excellent.

Renay: One of the last things we’re doing is a very special discussion space, so Ana, you wanna introduce that?

Ana: We are introducing a new facebook discussion group, which is going to be open to all space bees, but locked to everybody else. You have to request access to be able to join the group, and it’s just for us, for space bees, for Fangirl Happy Hour people, and it’s for us to discuss things, to talk, to vent, to do whatever we want in our own private space. It’s like our own beehive.

Renay: And we chose Facebook specifically because Ana is on there a lot, and I’m on there a lot for politics. Although Facebook is very guilty— very, very guilty—of helping elect a dotty old racist and taking rubles from the Russians for ads, and I’m still very upset at them. I’m fine with using their platform, for free, in order to talk about gay porn and books.

Ana: Let’s use Facebook for good.

Renay: And those are our changes. That’s what we have coming up.

Ana: It’s all very exciting.

Renay: I know, I’m really excited about everything we’re doing. Our Patreon goals are definitely aimed at the future. We’re definitely thinking a few years out.

Ana: Yeah.

Renay: We have a lot to work toward.

Ana: Do you want to include a few words about getting money for yourself?

Renay: No, I don’t want to include a few words about getting money for myself, but thanks for asking! Saying that number out loud makes me kinda want to throw up a little.

Ana: Okay.

Renay: If you wanna check out all the goals, you can drop by our account at patreon.com/fangirlhappyhour and then definitely sign up for the $5 reward level, so you can get Ana and I after dark.

[music break]

Renay: Next up we’re talking about the books that were published in 2017 that we’re definitely going to read before 2017 ends. Ana, what is on your list?

Ana: The first one is obviously The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin, which I can’t believe I haven’t read yet. But thankfully we’ll be discussing this one in the podcast. I will definitely have to read it before the end of the year.

The other one is a YA novel. It’s The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke, and it’s a time travel YA with a Jewish main character set in the eighties in Berlin, and then also back during Nazi Berlin during second World War. I hear really good things about it. I cannot wait to read that one.

The other one is Autonomous by Annalee Newitz, which I know you have read and really enjoyed, and we are also going to discuss this for the podcast. And Annalee of course is one of the creators of io9 and I have followed her career for a long time and I really am curious to see how her books are. Is it—this is her first novel, and it has robots, and artificial intelligence.

Renay: And robot sex.

Ana: The next one that I am very excited about is Jade City by Fonda Lee. It’s her first adult novel and it’s fantasy. The reviews on Goodreads are really excellent so far. I know sometimes that doesn’t mean anything, and there are lots of crap out there, but I hear her first book was really good—first YA novel was really good. I’m excited for this one.

Finally, the fifth book that I must read before the end of the year is The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman, which is a return to the world of His Dark Materials trilogy. Are you gonna read that one?

Renay: I would need to reread the previous books.

Ana: But I hear this is a prequel.

Renay: Yeah, but I would still want to read the other books first.

Ana: What about you, Renay? what are the books you are gonna read before the end of the year?

Renay: My first book is What Happened by Hillary Clinton. I bought this book because I couldn’t resist supporting her, and I also knew that the copy at my library would have holds for weeks. and at my library the new book time here is only two weeks long, so it’s going to be forever. and I really wanted to sit with this book and savour it, and not have to rush to return it so I just went ahead and bought it. So I’ve been waiting for my life to calm down a little before I sit down with it because I know it’s going to upset me.

My second pick is Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey. This is the next book in the Expanse series, and there is just no way I’m not jamming it into my brain as soon as possible. I love this series a lot. A whole lot. It’s so great. It has excellent characters and I’m super excited to see where these guys take it next.

My third pick is The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden. I actually bought this when it first came out, because it sounded bananas. In the same way that Zoo City or Moxyland sounded bananas? I really love the cover art. If you haven’t seen the cover art for this book you need to go check it out, there’s a robot on it, so obviously. My next pick is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Ana loved this book.

Ana: It’s one of my top ten of the year so far.

Renay: Everyone loves this book. And this book already has a film adaptation in the works, and accolades upon accolades have been strung around this title. The worst crit I’ve seen has been like, “Maybe this wasn’t for me,” or “This was too much for me this year.” It’s 2017, so. Based on that—I’ve gotta read it.

Ana: Yes, you do.

Renay: And then my last pick is The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6’4″ African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Momma’s Boy, Dad, and Stand Up Comedian by W. Kamau Bell. I love Bell’s podcast, Politically Reactive, that he shares with Hari Kondabolu, so I’m definitely going to give it a shot. I mean, I knew that I’d want to read it as soon as I saw it. And I love that his title has so many descriptors. He’s owning so many different parts of himself and his identity. Here he’s like, “I’m all these things and more and I’m really proud about it.” Something about the presentation is both confident and inviting at the same time. Obviously, I know him already from his podcast, so I love this title and I really want to read this book as soon as possible.

So those are the books that we’re going to jam into our eyeballs before the end of the year! Fingers crossed that we get there.

Ana: Obviously, my list has about fifty books, right?

Renay: We only chose five each because we can’t record for sixteen hours.

Space bees, let us know what books that you want to read before the end of the year.

[music break]

Renay: Our last segment is about our podcasting experience over the last few years. How’s it been? And how has the pod changed us as people? Like, how do we feel about it?

Ana: How do we feel about it?

Renay: When I came to you and suggested it, your first worry was, “My accent is going to get in the way.”

Ana: I made a note about this. And I feel that the two main things that happened for me is I feel more confident speaking out loud in audio for everybody to listen to and I feel less hung-up on my accent. At least amongst ourselves. But I feel like someday I might even say yes to being on a panel, for example.

Another thing is that it made me comfortable with doing this, right? Cause I remembered going, “If this had been a few years ago, pre-podcast, when I was given the chance to interview Ann Leckie in person, and record it, I would have trembled.” Other than being nervous because I was meeting Ann Leckie, the audio part of the recording and the talking with her for the podcast did not make me nervous at all. I actually felt very confident that I could carry that. So I think that’s the major thing that changed for me.

And of course it made me a person that actually listens to things, too, because I’m not into listening as much as I am into reading and watching, but I’m really into podcasts right now. I wish I had more time. But it’s now something that is part of my media consumption, and that came from being on a podcast.

Renay: I can bring you to podcasts by making you do a podcast, aww yeah.

Podcasting right now is going through an explosion of really great content. Training ourselves to listen is kind of hard. Our culture has sort of transitioned to text in a lot of ways, cause of to the internet, so listening is like a skill that you sort of have to develop.

Also having conversations with people? Because I don’t really have a lot of conversations with people. Before this podcast, the longest conversation that I would have with somebody would always be in text. Until we started this I didn’t really have verbal conversations with people and I hadn’t in over ten years.

Ana: What?!

Renay: Not long conversations, anyway.

Ana: That’s a good point actually, because apart from Russel, my partner, I guess our conversations is almost two-three hours every week or every other week, and that’s a long conversation to have with anybody. And we still love each other and haven’t killed each other yet.

Renay: Yet. I might mess up your Harry Potter scarf and you might come after me.

Ana: Oh no. Aw no. You’re not doing that.

Renay: [laughter] Not, “Oh no I won’t come after you,” “No you’re not messing up the scarf.”

Ana: No, I’m a Slytherin of course I will come after you. [laughter]

So what else have you found that has changed for you?

Renay: 2016 was interesting because I did things that I hadn’t done before. Like I went to Worldcon, and I talked to a bunch of strangers, and I don’t think without the podcast that I would have had the verbal confidence to do that. I think that really changed how I interacted with people.

The podcast has definitely made me trust my voice more, for example, I now go to city council meetings and I talk in front of the council. I talk to people in my community. I’m not afraid to raise my voice. I still doubt myself a lot, but it’s easier to convince myself what I have to say is worthwhile, which before the podcast I would have had a lot of trouble with.

You tried to teach me—you specifically—have tried to teach me how to value myself, and value my time, and to believe that I have worthwhile contributions to make and that’s a big change. If you hadn’t been there to do that I don’t know if I would be who I am.

Ana: I knew it. I knew you were do something to make me cry!

Renay: You just vibrated.

Ana: Goddamn Renay, what the fuck? You are worth it. And you had to know it.

Renay: Well thank you, Ana, for teaching me how to value myself.

Ana: It goes both ways, too!

Renay: Remember, all that time ago, you wrote a little post-it on your desk and you wrote, “Remember: you are a goddamn treasure.”

Ana: Yes.

Renay: And you sent me the photo, ’cause I was having a really bad day. And I made it my phone thing so every time I feel doubt, all I do is just press my home button and it pops up.

Ana: That’s so cool.

Renay: Podcasts can change you. Not only if you listen to them but especially if you make them and you have a co-host. Your co-host can’t not change who you are.

Ana: That is true. It’s not a virtue of podcasting itself, it comes from our relationship because we are not only co-hosts but we are friends, too. And I know that learned a lot from you. Well, even before the podcast, but I guess that the closeness of being friends really came with the podcast more than before. Especially now that we get to see each other. I don’t know why it took us so long.

Renay: I think when we started your computer was not equipped.

Ana: Yes, that’s true. It wouldn’t cope.

Renay: Has podcasting changed how we look at the world? Not just us, but how we look at the world around us.

Ana: I don’t think so in that way. I mean, I have learned a lot of things from listening to you critique things, because you are so clever, so intuitive, so smart! Don’t laugh! why are you laughing! Don’t forget, you’re a goddamn treasure! Those things seem impossible not to get some of that by osmosis in a way. We actually bring those things to the podcast, not take out of it.

Renay: I think the one thing that I’ve taken from the podcast by talking through things is to think about what impact my words are going to have on people.

Ana: Well, didn’t you have that before, with your writing of reviews?

Renay: Not in the same way. Because when you write something it’s there on the internet, people can read it, but it’s different when you’re talking to somebody. When they have your voice in their ears. And so I think the podcast has made me more aware of the effect that words have on people. It’s improved my ability to empathize and be more compassionate toward people who might hear what I say.

Ana: In many ways, I already had that before, because I’ve always written The Book Smugglers for other people, it was never a for me project, and same thing with Twitter.

Renay: Yeah, I think that’s probably a difference because before I was always writing for myself. This is more outward facing? Not only has it changed how I pay attention to my words, it’s also changed my writing too, because now I’m even more careful on my writing to how I phrase things and how things might appear. It’s made me a better critical thinker. Also I’m getting better at improv.

Ana: Well, I would like to say that I am too, but, I don’t know.

Renay: It’s hard.

Ana: It is hard.

Renay: And I have like a live-in improv trainer. For example, I’ll get up in the morning, come in, and he’ll be up, watching TV, and I’ll be like, “Hey,” and then he’ll say something, like, “Did you tell Zach to dig the hole?” and I have a few options. I can be like, “What the fuck are you talking about?” or I could say, “Yeah, I told him to dig the hole, and he told me to tell you you’re not the boss of him,” and then from there it just goes on into this whole scenario. He’s taught me to be more impulsive, but not in a bad way.

I’ve gotten a lot better at not getting so embarrassed by my mistakes. I have a really hard time with embarrassment. I hate feeling embarrassed. It’s super anxiety-inducing for me, and when I make mistakes I just feel awful, like I feel like the worst person, and the podcast has really helped me learn that mistakes are okay. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to be wrong.

Ana: Yes, it is.

Renay: Cause guess what guys, when you make a podcast you fuck it up a lot. Welcome to podcasting. Especially if you are teaching yourself. I think we’ve learned a lot, right?

Ana: Yes.

Renay: I love you, Ana. You’re so great.

Ana: I love you too, and – and! It’s great fun!

Renay: It is.

Ana: But also a lot of a work, but it’s also great fun.

Renay: It’s like having a book club, but on steroids. So, if you’re considering podcasting, space bees: Ana, do you have any advice for space bees considering podcasting?

Ana: Yes: get yourself a co-host that is not only a cool person but also someone who is accepting, flexible, and nice, and smart. And then you’ll be fine.

Renay: My advice is don’t be afraid to experiment, and definitely under no circumstances, do you want to use Garageband.

And lastly, no, you do not need a $300 microphone. You need a very simple mic, Blue Yeti, Blue Snowball, something like that, and a lot of audio treatments. And you’ll sound fine.

After all those feelings, Ana, what are we gonna talk about next time?

Ana: Next time, we will be recording another Vault episode. We’re gonna catch up finally with stuff that we owe you, and we’ll be discussing the book Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones.

We had planned to also discuss the film, but it’s very difficult to find any streaming solutions or to even pay for it here in the UK, and I couldn’t find the movie so it’s all my fault. Sorry.

If you have a DVD of the Howl’s Moving Castle adaptation, please protect it with your life and maybe sell it on ebay for lots and lots of cash.

[music break]

Ana: Thank you so much to all of you space bees for helping us get to a hundred episode. You’re awesome.

Renay: And here’s to another hundred episodes.

Ana: Our show art is by Ira, our transcripts are made by Susan with help from our patreon bees. You can read all the available transcripts at fangirlhappyhour.com.

Renay: We’re on twitter at @fangirlpodcast. Our email is fangirlhappyhour@gmail.com. You can write to us at any time with comments, questions, or concerns.

Ana: Don’t forget to stop by our website and sign-up for our awesome newsletter. We’re expanding it to include media recs.

Renay: Have a snack, drink some water, tell one creator this week how much you liked that thing they made, and contact your reps. US folks, fivecalls.org is your friend.

Ana: And if you have a co-host or a co-blogger, or a co-anything, just go and tell them that you love them.

Renay: Thanks for listening to our show, space bees!

Ana: See you next episode!

[music break]

Ana: Also I’m very sick recording this podcast so excuse my voice. It’s very throaty. Sexy.


Renay: There is nothing stopping us from putting a fancy umbrella in a glass of water.

Ana: That’s true, I actually have fancy umbrellas that I do put in my glass of water here when I try—when I want to have fun with myself. Oh my sounds so dirty.

Renay: [laughter] Okay, if you want me to include that you have to rephrase it!


Renay: It’s our hundredth episode! I’m very excited.

Ana: La-la-la-la-la-la honestly.


Ana: [singing quietly] Feelings, ohhhhhhh feelings…


Renay: Our last segment is a—

Ana: [blowing nose]

Renay: Our last segment, that’s gonna be our last segment, that’s it! Goodbye guys.

[beep] [beep]

Renay: Don’t strip! For your neighborhood, Ana.

Ana: [laughter] Well, that ship has sailed. [laughter]