A Good Ol’ Top Ten

Hey, hi, hello.

It’s been a minute. If for some reason you don’t know/didn’t notice my absence/whatever, I’m gonna fill you in on what’s been up and where I’ve been. If you want to skip over this, scroll on down, I won’t be offended.

So, on May 30th, I was involved in a pretty nasty car accident. I’m very thankful that it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, but it’s been a very hard time. The other driver was okay, thankfully. However, my car was totaled and my left (and dominant) hand was broken. The metacarpals that lead to my ring and pinkie fingers had not only been pushed back due to the airbag deploying, but also twisted due to the way the steering wheel jerked. It did require surgery, where I have three screws in one bone and had a metal pin sticking out of another. (I do have pics of this, if you’re interested…I also kept the pin).

When I had the pin removed a couple of weeks ago, my surgeon wasn’t too optimistic, because my hand just refused to heal. The bone just would not even begin to heal. So although I got to carry on without a splint, I still had a very annoying brace I had to keep wearing, and further, a ton of anxiety over what the hell I would do if my hand didn’t heal. I work in a copy center part time, and pursue my career as a cosmetologist the rest of the time. I’m left handed. I need this hand.

So it was a huge relief this morning, getting my x-ray, finally seeing some signs of healing, finally being cleared to get back into my normal habits and day to day life, finally being allowed to do what I love most – writing. Although I still don’t have a car, and we are still fighting with both insurance companies (thankfully, the other driver did accept full responsibility, so that did help a little), and I’m still not sure if I’ll be able to start school in the fall (tuition is due August 10th, and this accident put me way behind on preparation – hit me up for my PayPal lol), and I have to call my lawyer about twenty two times a week, I’m so thankful that I can finally get back to somewhat normal, and start to move forward from this.

That said, I do want to make sure a lot of kudos goes to all of the other writers here, who have gone out of their way to make things easier for me. I also want to thank all of you in the podcasting community who checked in on me, who prayed or sent positive vibes my way.

So, with that out of the way, I’m going to get into the top ten shows that kept me company since all I was allowed to do for the last six weeks was sit here and not move, essentially. Some of these may be familiar, some of them may not be, but these are the shows I listened to the most.

Let’s do this.

1. Parcast

So, Parcast isn’t actually an individual podcast, but an audio network with a host of different shows that I’ve been listening to for a while. I believe there are twelve shows in total, and I’ve listened and love all of them. If you want a deeper look into history, criminals, serial killers, cults, conspiracies, and things that just can’t be explained, check out Parcast and browse the different shows that are available. The audio quality is so good, and the information is accurate, and I cannot recommend this network enough.

2. Southern Gothic

Southern Gothic has been one of my favorite listens lately, because these are stories about places that are familiar to me – I live in the south, and I know so much about these places. I love hearing the creepy history of this region being shared, because there are some eerie things around here. Brandon doesn’t disappoint. (Also, great voice, not even gonna lie).

3. Disaster Artists: The Post-Apocalyptic Podcast

Disaster Artists is, and I quote, “The Survival Podcast for people who take movies too seriously.” Essentially, they discuss doomsday scenarios and talk about movies that involve some sort of disaster – natural or otherwise. They also have a cute tongue-in-cheek nod to The Nostalgia Critic on YouTube – “We survive the apocalypse so you don’t have to.” It’s such a fun listen, with episodes covering topics such as earthquakes, nuclear war, Jurassic Park, super-volcanoes, zombies, and so many other topics.

4. Swinging Through Spider-Man

This podcast debuted back at the end of November, and I immediately fell in love. I don’t know a damn thing about Spider-Man, but with this show you really don’t have to. Brad and James read through The Amazing Spider-Man by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (rest in peace, my dude). James and Brad have been a bit sporadic with episodes lately, because from what I gather they’ve been working on some cool shit, but they’re getting back into the swing of things (pun fully intended). What I love most about this podcast (aside from these hilarious guys with absolutely amazing accents) is that it’s very familiar to another podcast I love so much, Shark Liver Oil. I love any podcast that goes through page by page/chapter by chapter of written media. Hells yeah.

5. Hell and High Horror

Hell and High Horror is hosted by Austyn and Repy, and is part of the Murder.ly network, which I absolutely love. Almost all of the shows on Murder.ly I love dearly. Hell and High Horror is a podcast I actually discovered through Tumblr, and I was hooked immediately. Austyn and Repy are so funny, and each episode provides a perfect amount of spooks and humor. They cover true crime and the paranormal, which is always appreciated. I just love it so much.

6. Conspiring To Argue

This isn’t a surprise. Everyone who knows me knows that I can’t shut up about this podcast. I love everything about this show. I love the parallels between JJ and Ted and Scully and Mulder. I love the humor. I love the references to The Simpsons and Futurama. I love the extensive research that shines through while JJ gives background information on whatever topic they’re discussing that episode. I’ve even come around to Ted’s beer reviews. But mostly, I love when they ring the bell and the debate begins. I just love this show. (Also, I heard that JJ and his wife recently welcomed another little human into the world. Congratulations to you both!)

7. Fiercely Altered Perspective

Ah, The Fap Pod. My internet parents. I love them. Quinn’s job and also a recent battle with a storm and a trampoline has left my iconic internet parents unable to post a new episode in a while, but I don’t mind listening to old episodes again. I always catch something I missed the first time I listened, whether it’s a bit of information that ties things together or Quinn’s amazingly terrible puns. Ember is equally hilarious, and I just cannot rave about them enough. Ember and Quinn are so well aware that sometimes the only way to cope with the dark stuff is with humor, but they also are so accurate with the information they share about some of these cases. I applaud them for the heavy topics they cover, because sometimes it’s…a lot. They’re also part of the Murder.ly network, which again, I loooooooove.

8. Good Nightmare

I may seem biased because Sarah is my best friend, but I promise that’s not it. I genuinely enjoy listening to each episode. Sarah’s voice is so calming, and the topics she talks about are so near and dear to me. The episodes are short but sweet, and one of my favorite things to listen to before I sleep. She covers the origin stories for fairytales, unsolved mysteries, haunted locations, and more. It’s so strange to be able to enjoy and relax to a podcast that centers on all the creepy and unsettling things, but I do. This is another podcast that I never, ever shut up about. I just love it.

9. Corpus Delicti

Another Murder.ly show, and also hosted by some ladies with some good ol’ southern charm. Also, fellow Alabamians. Hello. Lindsay and Jenn cover a lot of true crime cases in great detail, but much like The Fap Pod, they sprinkle in humor in order to “laugh to keep from crying,” which I respect. I’ve listened to each episode several times and I just really love this show. And that’s all I have to say about that (Forrest Gump style).

10. The Apocalypse Survival Guide

This pod was recommended to me after I mentioned liking Disaster Artists, and I’m glad it was. It’s similar, but it’s done in a very interesting way. The idea is that they cover apocalypse scenarios from A-Z. They’ll choose a scenario, and talk about it the way it is depicted in movies. I’ve found this show to be both light-hearted and funny while also being informative and intriguing. Drew and Frank are just so funny, and I’ve really enjoyed listening to all of season one, and the first episode of season two was just posted yesterday. I just love everything about it. I’m in a big apocalypse/disaster mood lately, so this show has been really amazing in keeping me occupied. It’s quickly become one of my favorites.

I have so many other shows I’d love to talk about, but I’m going to wrap it up with those ten for now, because they have been the ones I’ve listened to the most. I’ll be coming back with more actual reviews soon. I just wanted to get this out here to you guys and work my hand a little bit. I’ll be back soon.

Hillbilly Horror Stories

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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!

 

Thinking Sideways

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This review is not brought to you by Thinking Sidways. It is instead brought to you by…oh, I dunno…a hot dog in a tutu or something.

I tried, anyway.

Hi again. I’m here to talk about one of my favorites, Thinking Sideways. I’ve been trying to find the best way to describe this podcast, and it’s really hard. TS is incredibly unique in two specific ways: the topics they cover, and the hosts themselves.

Thinking Sideways is a podcast that takes unsolved mysteries – from internet lore to murders – breaks down the background information on that topic, and then speculates on what really happened.

Steve, Devin, and Joe are incredibly interesting. I mean, of course they’re weird – how can you live in this world & keep some semblance of sanity without being weird? But what’s incredibly interesting about them is their chemistry. They genuinely make a great team.

Most of the podcasts I listen to either have only one hosts or just two hosts. But we’ve got a team of three here. Three different senses of humor, three different outlooks, and three (for the most part) different personalities.

I’m one of those people that genuinely enjoy seeing multiple angles and opinions – assuming that the reasoning to back it up is logical. It’s nice to listen to three people discuss some of the more mysterious topics. Typically, if there are only two hosts, you can kind of predict what the outcome will be. Having three hosts means that there could be a third opinion or stance, maybe one that nobody else has considered yet.

It’s almost like having a wild card – you never really know what to expect. Will they lean more towards one opinion over another? Or will they have their own opinion overall?

Another great thing about this podcast is that these three keep things humorous while still being informative and respectful when necessary. You’re gonna get some laughs, but not at the expense of victims or otherwise. There is a fine line between a good sense of humor and just being calloused – these guys have a good sense of humor.

My favorite episode, personally, is the Dyatlov Pass Incident. It was the first Thinking Sideways episode that I listened to, but this goes beyond that. Joe, Devin, and Steve go through and exhaust all the possible scenarios (including a visit from my favorite cryptid, Mr. Chupacabra) before sharing what they believe really happened.

(My other all time favorite episode is the Lost Cosmonauts episode, in case you were curious).

I feel like I’m constantly just counting the days to the next Thinking Sideways episode, because I just cannot get enough. I love when I get that feeling, because not many podcasts capture me like that. This one definitely did.

I feel like one of the most important things a podcast can do is offer a safe space or distraction from someone’s day to day life. My life isn’t terrible by any means, but we all have our struggles – I have a lot of hard days (weeks). I love knowing that I can come home, turn on this podcast, and just escape from the pressure and pain of my reality for a little while. They offer an escape through their podcast, but also through social media.

Thinking Sideways has some of the best listeners. Honestly, these people are so kind and caring, and it’s always encouraging when a podcast can create a family like that. Life happens to all of us but we don’t lose our humor or our curiosity. There’s a sort of camaraderie between all of the listeners, and the hosts as well. It is incredibly encouraging.

Speaking of social media, you can like Thinking Sideways on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and even subscribe to their sub on Reddit. They honestly have their own subreddit. Is that not the most badass thing ever?

They (okay…typically Devin) are very interactive with their followers on each platform, which is also something that I believe is very important. It appears to me that they are very humble, and are incredibly thankful for all of their listeners. You’re gonna feel wanted, and that is one of those things that also really means a lot to me. They’re also constantly taking listeners’ suggestions on topics, which makes for some pretty unique and interesting episodes.

Thinking Sideways has 1,546 ratings on iTunes, the majority of which are five stars. Their overall rating is four stars (but should be, like, seventeen stars). They have a lot of episodes, which makes them perfect for binge-listening. So if you are interested in unsolved mysteries of any kind, this is going to be the podcast for you.

Or, if you just need some good laughs and to be distracted for a while, you can listen to this as well. There’s really not a bad time to listen to Thinking Sideways, honestly.

So, to end the review, just a quick little thank you note from me to the hosts specifically:

Thank you guys for making my days a little better, for getting me to laugh, for giving me a way out of my own head for a little while. Your podcast is one of my go-to’s for when everything else is going wrong. Thank you for working so hard and being so good to your listeners. You’ll never know exactly how big of a positive impact you have on peoples’ lives, but you definitely leave a big one. Thank you guys for being all around just some of the greatest people. Thank you.

 

And That’s Why We Drink

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Sometimes, you find something so amazing that you can’t help but fall in love the instant you lay your eyeballs on it. And sometimes, the same thing happens with podcasts – except you can’t lay your eyeballs on that. Actually, laying your eyeballs on anything sounds painful. Let’s just forget I said that at all.

Enter And That’s Why We Drink, a podcast centered around the paranormal and true crime – hosted by the ever-lovely Christine and Em. Christine (#TeamWine) and Em (#TeamMilkshake) start each episode by discussing the reasons why they consume their chosen beverage – usually a funny little anecdote from an occurrence over the past week. It’s a very small but very important component to what makes them relatable and personable. You get a small look into their lives, which makes you feel more like a friend than a listener, which is something that is really important to me.

(Perhaps the most important part of the podcast is any and every moment that either Christine or Em talks about Gio – Christine’s little fluffy rescue pup that would totally be Em’s sidekick if she were a superhero.)

So we roll into the stories. Em presents a (usually creepy AF) paranormal story, accompanied by Christine’s gasps and “oh my gods” galore. (If you’d like an example, check out my favorite episode – Ep. 18). The thing about Em is that she has such a soothing voice (at least to me; apparently that isn’t a compliment she gets often aha!) but she manages to deliver the detail and information in a way that will still capture your attention.

Christine will, in turn, share a (usually equally creepy AF) true crime story in a similar light. Much like Em, you can tell that Christine puts a great deal of research and time into what she is sharing as well. I feel this is especially prevalent in Ep. 30, where she delivers the story of Sylvia Liken in all its infamous glory. The thing that I truly love about Christine is that, even with the uncomfortable stuff that often comes with discussing true crime, she doesn’t skip a beat. She acknowledges these things are disturbing, but still manages to say the right things at the right time (along with Em’s help; she has the better jokes! Sorry Christine!) to keep the atmosphere to become too overbearing with negativity.

Beyond the podcast itself, Christine and Em are so lovely. You can tell they are the best of friends – their chemistry radiates through the speaker, and I am genuinely envious of such a precious friendship.

Christine is such a beautiful human with such a beautiful soul. In every interaction I’ve had with her on Twitter, she has been so very kind to me. You can tell that Christine genuinely cares about people – listeners, friends, family – and she has such a good heart. That’s not really something that you see a lot of, especially with strangers over the internet. Christine is one of those people that I would totally be willing to chill with – sweatpants, watching Netflix, drinking wine on a Saturday night. Her disposition and personality is just so pure, and honestly her awesomeness cannot be overstated.

Em is just as precious. She’s got a great sense of humor, a lot of interesting stories, and an amazing personality. Another really awesome thing about Em is that she is unashamed of her sexuality and uses her platform to support the LGBT+ community. It means a lot to me knowing that there is somebody representing our community in a position such as Em. We don’t have to make it about sexuality to hear a good story, but she doesn’t shy away from it either, as so many people would. I cannot put into words how cool it is to look up to someone who is so comfortable with who she is, and doesn’t mind sharing that. Being LGBT+ is not something to be ashamed of – which is a lesson that I’m slowly learning myself – and Em is the embodiment of that self-love and confidence. Just like I’d chill with Christine, I’d definitely buy Em waffles and a milkshake.

Listening to ATWWD brings me a lot of comfort – I feel like I’m part of a family, like Em and Christine are the sisters I’ve never had (but always wanted). When I’m listening to a podcast where I feel like I’m present & included, I feel like I’ve found myself a safe place to call home. That’s very important to me.

So, Christine & Em, thank you guys for doing what you do and for being a bright light in a dark place. You guys are doing an amazing job, and I’m so thankful that I get to listen every week and feel like I’m a part of it – even if only a small part.

And That’s Why We Drink has 285 reviews on iTunes, and have a perfect 5-star rating. On Facebook, they have 1,682 likes and 1,744 follows. They also have 3,757 followers on Twitter. For such a high amount of followers, they are super interactive and attentive with their listeners/followers. You can also find them on Instagram, where they are also very interactive with followers.

There are 188 patrons that support Em & Christine on Patreon. I am proud to be one of those patrons. Even if it’s only $1 a month, throw some support behind these lovely ladies!

You can also follow the hosts on their personal Twitter accounts.

Christine can be found here. || Em can be found here.

I very much love & support (and always will) this podcast. It is unique in it’s own special way, and it means so much to me. Give it a listen – you won’t regret it!

P.S. – #TeamMilkshake