Conspiring To Argue (The Actual Review)


Can one be back on her bullshit if she was never off her bullshit? Yikes.

If this looks familiar, it’s because I’ve already written a post about CTA, but I did you guys a favor. Instead of putting all of my emotions plus the actual review in one post (which would have been at least 17,000 words long), I split it into two. So, hello, here we are.

Conspiring To Argue is comprised of two guys in Iowa who like to…argue. Yeah, that’s basically the jist of it. They take conspiracy theories, and argue them. But I have a bag of pretzels, too much energy, and a long night ahead of me anyway, so let’s talk about why it works.

JJ and Ted (formerly known as but also still referred to as Nic) have an interesting premise for this show in the sense that it is an actual argument – they aren’t just speculating theories. They are taking a stance and bringing forth facts to back up what they believe. They each have a certain presence of conviction that they bring to the show.

So, here’s a breakdown of the show.

Most episodes begin with a few minutes of these two talking about whatever is going on in their lives, which I must admit is my favorite part. These two are just so funny in their interactions, it honestly feels like you’re there laughing along with some old friends. That’s part of the allure to this show for me.

They move into alternative titles for the episode, which are (usually) always funny and clever. Then, they’ll start breaking down the content.

JJ, despite being a horrible speller & barely being able to navigate speaking, is immaculate in his research. He breaks it down into a chronological timeline that not only makes sense, but is accurate and easy to follow. I’d love to give Nic some credit for this as well, but he’s pretty notorious for doing anything but researching.  Bless him. So JJ breaks down the backstory and then, assuming it isn’t a multi-part episode, they ring the bell. UFC/WCW Michael Buffer style, my guys.

Lately, Nic has been doing a beer review around this time. But because I’ve pretended this long that I hate it, I’m going to ignore it. Occasionally they throw in “best of the rest” which is, essentially, just them briefly discussing theories that neither of them buy in to. It doesn’t always fall right before the argument. It’s one of those segments that they kinda just throw in whenever they remember to do it. It’s also a really good time.

JJ and Nic have a very Fox Mulder-Dana Scully relationship on the show. JJ usually takes the stance of what’s been accepted as the truth, where Nic typically stands for the conspiracy. These two guys have such an interesting dynamic, and they have such good chemistry together as hosts, so it’s always so much fun to listen to them argue their sides. It can get super intense sometimes too, which makes it even more fun. They keep your attention by presenting the information in a way that makes both sides sound equally plausible and appealing.

They wrap up the show with shout-outs to podcasts that they’re listening to, appreciation for their listeners, and anything else they feel is important. This is another favorite for me, because I love discovering new pods to listen to and they both listen to stuff that I also really enjoy.

Their social media presence is strong. Well, JJ’s is anyway. Nic is a bit more elusive sometimes. You can follow the podcast on Twitter, find them on Facebook, and contribute to their show by checking out their Patreon. They’re available on pretty much every podcasting platform I could find.

They have 30 reviews on iTunes, giving them a perfect five star rating. It’s well earned, honestly. They’re really great guys with a really good show. It’s definitely a good show for people who are fans of Thinking Sideways and Last Podcast On The Left. Go check ’em out!



Hello friends!

I’m going to cut straight to it, because this is a podcast I love so much and I believe it deserves so much love & attention!

Today, I’m going to share a quick write-up about Creepsville, a podcast hosted by my dear friend Bella. Creepsville is a podcast that focuses on urban legends, murders, and the paranormal, originating from her home country of Australia as well as throughout the world.

At the current moment, there are eight episodes of Creepsville – the topics range from haunted Brisbane to exorcisms to The Slit Mouth Woman. All spectacularly spooky episodes paired with Bella’s incredibly soothing voice.

Similar to Good Nightmare, Creepsville is a great podcast to listen to when I’m driving to and from work, as well as when I’m home and trying to relax. Bella has a way of delivering some rather creepy information in an accurate but calming way. And honestly, anything that’s spooky automatically has my whole heart.

Bella is really good about staying active and interactive with her listeners, both on her personal Twitter as well as her pod Twitter, and through other social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

I love listening to a podcast that is so eccentric, especially one hosted by somebody that is so charismatic. Bella puts in so much effort to researching, recording, and editing. She is so talented, especially for such a new podcast. Each episode is an improvement from the last, even though they’re all still so good.

Bella herself is such a kind-hearted and hilarious human. I absolutely adore her, she genuinely is a beautiful soul. She is so friendly, as well. There really isn’t anybody in the world quite like Bella.

At the moment, Creepsville has 11 reviews on iTunes that equates to three stars. I personally give it five out of five, because I just love and adore it so much! You can find Creepsville on iTunes and most other podcasting platforms, as well as on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Bella, sweet pea, please never change! You are such an amazing podcast host, a wonderful friend, and just all around a lovely human. Thank you for all that you do and all that you contribute to the podcasting community! I love you dearly!


Conspiring To Argue (Why What You Are Doing Matters)


I have spent entirely too much time mulling over how to go about this post. I’ve spent several weeks (months, at this point) thinking about how, why, what to say. Am I too close to the show itself to give an unbiased review? Yes. Am I too invested in the hosts’ personal lives? Yes. Am I too tired to write a cohesive post at the moment? You betcha. Can I get my head out of my own ass long enough to give you a well-written, deeply thought out review of this particular podcast? Nope, but I’m going to do what I do best: post an uncomfortably long personal tale of how two strangers effectively changed (saved?) my life while sprinkling in some details about how awesome the pod is.

I can remember the exact date and time that I began listening to Conspiring To Argue (July 16, 2017 at 10:36p.m. in case anybody is curious). I remember feeling, as soon as I hit play, that these two random dudes from one of the more relevant places in Iowa would become incredibly prominent in my life. Now, seeing that it’s been seven months of pure devotion on my part (amazing considering how short my attention span is), it’s as good a time as any to try to delve into why this podcast is so important to me.

I was not in a great place at the time. I was ten days shy of turning 21, which for most people is a great time. But, for me, I was just as miserable as I’d always been. I was listening to an episode of Hillbilly Horror Stories at the time, and they gave a shout out to this podcast. And I was like, “Okay, I’ve never actually listened to any podcast that anybody else has recommended…might as well try it out.” And so, I did. As fate would have it, they’d just posted an episode that day about a crazy ass house in Gary, Indiana. And I shit you not, I was in love. Here sat two guys arguing about whether things really are as simple as they appear, whether things really happen the way officials claim they did. Here sat two guys who reminded me of the me I used to be. The one who had an interest in digging deeper, in questioning the validity of things. The me who, at one point, could hold a similar conversation with a friend and find the humor in the drama, the light in the dark. It was not as simple as “Oh, these guys are fun and I like this podcast.” It was never just that simple. Like I said, this was a particularly dark time for me; I was battling disaster after disaster both internally and externally. I had effectively shut out all of the things that would require me to feel. Prior to this point, podcasts existed in my life in the same way music did – anything to fill the silence, give me some background noise, I would accept it. At this point in time, when Nic was still Nic and I didn’t know how poor JJ’s spelling could actually be, I was sleeping as little as possible and surviving on energy drinks & stale crackers. I was barely surviving. (It’s amazing how much can change in seven months, by the way).

God bless, am I just writing in circles here? I think I am. It’s fine. We all have a right to become overly emotional and nonsensical every now and then.

So, yes. I was immediately addicted to this podcast. Part of it is, like I said, how much it reminded me of me. But another part of it is just how unique it actually is. There are pods out there that will cover similar topics and have a similar premise, but CTA just has a different vibe. When you sit down and listen to it, you just know that Nic and JJ are having fun. You know that, regardless of the topic, they just genuinely enjoy each others’ company and genuinely enjoy arguing for the sake of arguing – both pretty important for a solid friendship, I’d say. You can listen to podcasts that are similar and maybe you’ll get that same vibe every now and then. But for Nic and JJ, it’s consistent. Every time you listen to a new episode, you can feel this sense of camaraderie that is really hard to gather from other similar shows.

Another thing that really had my attention was how interactive these guys were with their followers on Twitter. As most of you are well aware of now, I spend a vast majority of my time on Twitter (by vast majority, I mean 23/7 – the extra hour is for snacking). Facebook, IG, Snapchat, I’ll check those every now and then. But I am alwayyyys on Twitter. A lot of the podcasts I listened to at the time (and let’s be real, even now) are more likely to interact via Facebook. I simply do not like Facebook. So it was surprising to see these guys actually stay consistent and interact with followers on the social media platform I love most. It made things far more convenient for me, that’s for sure.

Once again, going back to how this time was a dark one for me – I knew that the things I happened to be feeling at the time were eating me alive. I knew that I couldn’t carry it all in my head. I’d became so invested in listening because it was a safe place for me. It wasn’t just background noise, not this time. Listening genuinely felt like being in the eye of a hurricane. You knew you weren’t out of the woods yet, but you had a few minutes to breathe and prepare yourself for the tail-end of the storm. When I was coming home from work, back into a place where I’d just be stuck in my own head with my own thoughts, it became a safe place to retreat to for a while – to get some rest before having to stand back up and face everything again.

I don’t really just open up to people and trust people, but that’s more or less exactly what I did when I really started talking to Nic and JJ. It was so easy to feel like I could tell them anything, because it really felt like I’d known them my whole life. (My mom jokingly refers to them now as the brothers I wish I had any time I talk about them. She’s not wrong). The more I listened, the more I opened up, the closer I felt. Nic and I have almost too much in common, and JJ is incredibly smart, even if he can’t spell. Sometimes talking to Nic is like talking to myself. Sometimes talking to JJ is so similar to conversations I had with my dad I have to pause for a moment. But I have never ever felt an ounce of shame or guilt from sharing with them the truth of how I feel or what I’m going through. That is unheard of in my life and I am truly grateful.

We are seven months down the road now, and I will stick to open honesty here: a lot of things have gone wrong in my personal life these past seven months. I’ve withheld a lot of secrets, lied about how I’ve been, pretended that I’ve just been dealing with everyday life when, in reality, I’ve been dealing with everyday life on top of some heavier, darker tasks and decisions that have really been draining. The past two months especially have been literal hell. I have said things I’ve regret, done things that I can’t undo, hidden things that just couldn’t stay in the dark forever. I thought I had to bust through some of these obstacles kicking and screaming. I thought I had to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders alone. Through all of this, Nic and JJ were there. Whether through listening to old episodes, silly hockey arguments, or the heavy stuff that I only ever seem to spill out when the sun goes down, they were here.

The main point of this post, other than to spill my guts & gratitude, is to remind each of you that what you do really matters. I go on these rants a lot on the promo Twitter account discussing why podcasts are so important – why you, as a host, are so important. It’s not just me kissing ass or whatever. It’s because for somebody out there, you are the eye of the storm, the light in the dark, the family they’ve searched their whole lives for. You are the best friend that somebody needs, the escape somebody reaches for, the peace in the warzone. As an adult, you know as well as I do that life is not kind. What you do matters to people like me. The next time you get discouraged when you see the stats, just remember that numbers are meaningless in comparison to changing someone’s life for the better.

Nic & JJ – I know I say it a lot, but thank you both for everything. Thank you both for helping me find my way back to me. Thank you both for sticking with me through all the dramatic bullshit. I know sometimes it seems like my life is more of a dramatic TV show than anything. Thank you both for helping me work through it. Thank you both for never doubting me, for always believing in me. Thank you for reminding me that love and friendship is something I deserve, too. Thank you for reminding me that there are things worth staying for. I could go on forever, but if you can imagine it, I’m thanking you for it. I love you both so dearly, and I will forever be grateful for your friendship.

For the rest of you – readers who are listeners and readers who are hosts – please do not ever forget that you matter. That what you do matters. Please do not ever forget that you are wanted and needed, that your kindness and friendliness is what can make all the difference in someone’s day or even life.

(Now that I am back from vacation, I have a new laptop, and my world is starting to level out a little, I’ll be far more active again. Soon, this post will be followed up with an actual real review of the show. But because I’ve seen so much unrest in the pod community lately, I felt now was a good time to share this. Thank you all for your interaction and support with us – we greatly appreciate it!)


Trace Evidence


First post of 2018, woo!

I ended 2017 with the flu, started 2018 with the flu, and then spent the last two weeks with the flu. Since there are two strains going around, it only makes sense that I would catch both, right? Sigh, my life.

But we’re not here to talk about me and we all know that. Today, we’re here to talk about Trace Evidence. I’ve been really excited to get to this, and I’ve been waiting to get a moment to really give this the attention and effort it deserves.

I try to be as neutral as possible, and for the most part I can contain my bias, but there are quite a few pods (as you can see from previous reviews) that I just love more than life, and this is one of them.

Steven is the kind of person that you wish could host any and all of your favorite pods. He has the perfect voice, the perfect pacing, the perfect enunciation. When I listen to Trace Ev, it’s such a soothing experience for me, even though the topics themselves are morbid and dark. Steven just has the kind of voice that can make you feel calm in any circumstance.

Trace Evidence as a show is the epitome of everything you’d ever want out of a true crime podcast, specifically unsolved mysteries ranging from murders to disappearances. Most episodes average between an hour and an hour and a half long, which means he has plenty of time to really get into detail about these cases. I will say that Trace Evidence is not for the faint-hearted. Steven divulges details about these cases that can be disturbing or troubling and uncomfortable. I feel that goes for all true crime podcasts, but it’s important to mention specifically for this pod, because Steven really doesn’t leave anything out.

One of the things I look for when it comes to reviews is accuracy of information, so this review has been in the making for a while because the episode lengths combined with the amount of information made for a lot of studying on my part. But I’ll be damned if Steven hasn’t gotten everything right. He is dedicated, moreso than a lot of pods in the same genre. You turn on any episode, and you can hear the passion he has for these cases, for the victims and the lack of justice. However, he is professional in his delivery; regardless of how he personally feels, his cadence rarely changes. He will not overwhelm the information by allowing his voice to give away his emotions. It’s a very calculated, measured way to go about divulging this information. I personally appreciate this, because I love being able to form my own opinion about the case without the inflection of the host’s voice swaying me one way or the other. Steven is pretty consistent with saving his personal opinions for the end of the episode, which adds to not having my opinion swayed prematurely.

He is also really good about picking cases that haven’t been discussed to death. He’s bringing attention to cases that deserve recognition. Not to say that other cases don’t deserve such attention, but I’m a firm believer that all should be covered equally. He does a great job at putting that into practice. Like I’ve mentioned, you get a sense that he genuinely cares about the victims and their families, he cares about seeing justice for these cases. And to care that much equally across the board is so incredibly important.

Another thing that is incredibly important, especially to me when it comes to these reviews, is how much a podcaster interacts with their listeners. Steven is incredibly engaged with his listeners, to the point where you can see there is a legitimate friendship between him and his listeners.

He’s active on Twitter, he posts & comments often in the Facebook group. He keeps the website up to date and puts a lot of content up on Patreon. He is quick to respond to questions and observations, and he is incredibly approachable. That’s why it’s no surprise to me that his 364 reviews on iTunes have led to a perfect five stars. He completely deserves it.

To step back from the show itself, and to venture into something more personal, Steven is genuinely the sweetest human. I adore him for always being so kind, always having something nice to say. For a brief but very difficult time, Steven was the only person who showed me any kindness. I have a very special place in my heart for him, because he’s always treated me like a friend. When you find yourself in a dark and lonely place, and someone comes along and helps ease that loneliness, you don’t let that go.

So, Steven, thank you. Thank you for having respect for these cases, the victims, and their families. Thank you for treating your listeners like friends. Thank you for your unending kindness even to strangers. You are inspiring and unforgettable. You leave an impact on everyone you talk to. There aren’t enough words to describe just how important and amazing you are.

Good Nightmare

good nightmare

Hello friends.

It has been a moment, but here I am. It is so amazing how fast time will pass when you are busy dealing with life, but that is a digression. The purpose of this is to write a quick little mini-review for my dear friend and her podcast, as a way to help her celebrate hitting 1,000 downloads!

So if you can’t tell (???), tonight I’m gonna be talking about Good Nightmare. This pod is pretty special to me, for a multitude of reasons. The first (and most important) – Sarah has effectively become my absolute best friend. I have never met anyone more kind, encouraging, and inspiring.

Another reason, however, is because of the topics that Sarah discusses. It is an array of fact and fiction, the strange to the macabre. From Lizzie Borden to Marie Laveau to the origins of The Little Mermaid, there really is something here for everybody.

What I love about each episode (aside from Sarah’s fabulous Aussie accent – I mean, it’s heavenly), is how detailed Sarah manages to be in under fifteen minutes. My commute to work, depending on which job, ranges from ten to fifteen minutes. I generally prefer pods with longer episodes, but it is incredibly refreshing to be able to listen to an entire episode on my way to or from work – sometimes it can be really hard to pause in the middle of an episode after getting to work, and then having to remember the details when I press play again.

Sarah also has an incredibly soothing voice, so it isn’t uncommon for me to queue all the episodes and just listen until I fall asleep. I am one of those weird people that has to have background noise to fall asleep, and this pod is low-stakes enough that I can relax while still remaining engaged. That’s important to me.

But podcast aside (although it is incredibly amazing and I am so proud of her!!!!), Sarah is just genuinely a wonderful person. She is friendly, funny, and incredibly lovely. I am just so thankful that I have gotten to be here since episode one, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for her!

(As of 10:11pm, the time of writing this, Sarah’s pod just hit 1,000 downloads. I am so proud of her!)

You can find Good Nightmare just about anywhere you can find podcasts (there are only two or three places I haven’t checked. You can also follow the podcast account on Twitter. She is so kind, and she’s very interactive with anyone that reaches out to her, so send her a tweet or a DM.

Sarah, sweet pea, I’m so proud of you! I told you that you could do it. ❤

Generation Why


Life happens to all of us, and though I debated opening this review with a detailed explanation of how life happening to me has kept me from reviewing as frequently as I want to, I’m just gonna bypass that completely. I’d rather discuss some guys who sit down and talk about the strange and often terrifying things that occur when life happens.

Aaron and Justin – the hosts of The Generation Why Podcast – pick out the strangest mysteries, most compelling conspiracies, and terrifying true crimes, then dive into all the details. I’m talking the who, what, when, where…and, often the most important piece of the puzzle, the why.

If I’m remembering correctly, this is the first podcast that really sparked my interest in listening to pods. Sure, I had listened to My Favorite Murder & similar pods (all of which are incredibly good – do not misread me!!) but none of them had caught my attention the way Gen Why did. The first episode of Gen Why that I heard was episode 234: Dee Dee & Gypsy Blancharde. Ironically, this was a few weeks after I’d ever heard about that case at all, and I wanted to hear what somebody else thought of it.

And oh boy, that started a damn addiction.

I spent weeks listening to Gen Why in between shifts at work, during my commute, while eating, doing laundry, cleaning the house, literally all the damn time. I was hooked. How? Why?

Because Justin and Aaron are damn good at what they do, that’s why.

As of writing this, there are 259 available episodes of Generation Why – including the archived episodes. That is hours upon hours upon hours of researching, recording, and editing. Regardless of the content, that is true dedication & passion – you can tell that Justin and Aaron care about what they’re doing.

Part of my reviewing process is cross-referencing the research that pods do for their content. And I have not, in the multiple episodes I’ve listened to, found any fallacies or inaccuracies. Is it possible that there are some? Of course. We’re all only human. I’m just saying that I personally haven’t found any. After looking through several episodes, I just resigned myself to the fact that they research, and they make sure their shit is straight before they post it.

The thing about Justin and Aaron that also sets this podcast apart is that they are both serious and witty, with just the perfect blend of somberness & humor to keep a listener engaged but not be disrespectful to victims or anyone otherwise effected. Their conversations, speculation, and opinions are presented in a way that is not only passionate and insightful, but also makes you as the listener feel like you are a part of the conversation.

If you are a fan of true crime/mysteries/conspiracies, or if you’ve ever watched and enjoyed Unsolved Mysteries, this pod is for you. I’m not exaggerating when I say it is one of my favorites – one of the pods that I am always excited to listen to, that I have no problem with listening to the same episode repeatedly, and one that I’m always excited to see pop up when they release new episodes.

Their social media presence is strong, too. You can like them on Facebook, join the Facebook group, as well as follow them on Twitter Instagram. They also have a YouTube Channel. On their website, there is a blog. According to the site, the blog is run by a lovely lady known as Miss Lindsay, who is a blogger from England who runs her own very impressive (and frankly beautiful) blog called Real Life Is Horror. And just to make sure I’m not leaving anybody out, I also want to acknowledge Jessica S. – the researcher for Gen Why. Aaron, Justin, Lindsay, and Jessica are obviously a great team considering how successful all facets of this pod are. Thank you guys for working so hard.

Any and everything else you’d ever want to know can be found on the Gen Why site; you’ll find the aforementioned blog, archived episodes, links to Patreon & merchandise, a list of sponsors, along with a few other links. Check out the site, honestly – it’s impressive how nice and user friendly it is.

As of this moment, Gen Why has 2129 ratings on iTunes, coming to a 4.5 out of 5 stars. They also have 13.3k followers on Twitter. They’re very interactive with and appreciative of their listeners, which is always a good thing as well.

I genuinely can not think of a better way to spend my time than listening to Gen Why. As a podcast that covers all of my favorite topics, with well rounded research and hosts that are passionate & also incredibly friendly, there really is something here for everybody. I don’t know if I’d ever be able to find a reason to dislike this pod, to be honest. And that says a lot, in and of itself.

So to Aaron, Justin, & anybody involved in this podcast – thank you. Thank you for taking the time & effort to make something that isn’t only interesting & educational, but also for building a community that is friendly and welcoming to like-minded people. Thank you for all that you do.

Hillbilly Horror Stories


Ah. Yes. Finally. So sorry for the delay – life has been very interesting here lately. But we aren’t here to talk about me. Instead we’re here to talk about Hillbilly Horror Stories – a spooky lil podcast that really has my heart for a multitude of reasons. We’re going to talk about all of those reasons in detail here shortly, but let me give you a rundown about what this show is about.

My obsession with all things creepy, macabre, and paranormal can’t actually be healthy, but that’s neither here nor there. A typical episode of this show has Jerry & Tracy (or Jerry & Ricky if you’re listening to earlier episodes) talking about some of the creepier parts of our history by discussing cases of paranormal activity, hauntings, and even poltergeists & demonic possession. I’m a huge fan of a good ol’ ghost story, and there are plenty of those to be found here. And the best part? They might be true.

What I love most about the show is that often these creepy stories can be dark & overwhelming. Jerry and Tracy do a really great job at sharing these stories in a way that is still respectful when necessary but also absolutely hilarious. I don’t leave these episodes feeling spooked or anxiety-ridden like a lot of paranormal podcasts can make me feel; instead, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about a topic I’m interested in while still having a good laugh. It’s very hard to strike that balance, but Jerry and Tracy do it very well. There are 64 episodes that I have listened and re-listened to several times. This is a great show to listen to both actively (because we all love a good ghost story, don’t lie) and passively (sometimes it’s nice to have background noise while you’re doing literally anything on your to-do list that you’ve put off for three weeks).

I have a soft spot for Jerry & Tracy specifically. Weekly shoutouts to civil servants, thoughts & prayers, and shoutouts to listeners & reviewers – these are all things that show not only how patriotic they are, but also how much they appreciate their listeners. The world is full of people who just do not care, but you can tell that Jerry and Tracy do care, and that makes the world a little bit brighter for people like me. And knowing that my brother – along with hundreds of thousands of others – are in the military and are being prayed for and supported like this brings me a great deal of peace, as well.

Jerry has great humor, and Tracy has the best laugh. I love her southern twang, because I have just as much of a southern accent and it’s nice to hear that being represented as well. And Tracy says the funniest shit when you’re least expecting it. She honest to god cracks me up. And after a long day at work, laughter is the BEST relief.

Another really big reason that I love Hillbilly Horror Stories is that without them I never would have listened to the podcast that so immediately became my greatest obsession (yeah, I’m talking about Conspiring To Argue) but that’s a discussion for a different blog review for a different day. I just have to throw that out there and say thank you for that, anyway 😉

Hillbilly Horror Stories has a little over 400 reviews on iTunes, and a collective perfect five stars. I personally give them a perfect 10 out of 10, but because iTunes doesn’t go by that rating system, I guess five stars will do.

You can find links to their Patreon, PayPal, and their merch on their website. You can also like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. They are incredibly interactive with their listeners and just a lot of fun to interact with.

So Jerry & Tracy, thank you for working as hard as you do to bring us the content that you do. You guys are a light in an otherwise dark place, and you are greatly appreciated for that. Keep it up, because you guys are one of the best parts of my week!