mckamey manor and reckless ben’s exposé

as the days go by and we get closer and closer to halloween, more and more haunted houses are popping up all over the country. people line up for miles just to get scared and experience the thrill of total simulated terror- to appreciate the art of the scare… or, if you’re russ mckamey: the art of torture.

mckamey manor: “you really don’t want to do this”

mckamey manor is a haunted house created and founded in 2001 by house owner russ mckamey. it is marketed as the “scariest haunted house in the world” and is regarded as an experience only the toughest and fittest can go through with. the house claims to have a waitlist over 24,000 people, with citizens from all over the country flooding to tennessee just to go through the haunted house. the house is year long, and you have to sign a waiver stating that you give russ mckamey and his scare actors permission to subject you to physical and psychological torture for hours on end. for such a renowned and extreme haunted house, you would think there would be a heavy price to pay at the gate, right? well, you’d be wrong. all russ asks for in return in two bags of dog food… and a big chunk of your mental and physical health, of course. in return for making through the house, you receive $20,000. as suspected, no one has ever actually made it through the house… supposedly. 

reckless ben: a new-generation investigative journalist

reckless ben is a youtuber i found randomly one day that has completely changed my perspective on how we track investigations in the journalism community. his content is crazy entertaining and is so daring and real that some days i even fear for the guy’s safety. reckless ben is no newbie to risk, as some of his most popular series on youtube include him infiltrating the yellow deli cult and even scientology. he also holds the world record for the closest someone has gotten to the bohemian grove cult after the security increase following alex jones’ infiltration. pretty cool guy, right? well, three months, he decided to start a series on mckamey manor. he and his close friend signed up for the tour and quickly discovered that both were not able to get to the actual haunted house. not because they gave up, but, get this, because there is no haunted house. neither ben nor his friend ever said the safe word (which, by the way, wasn’t even allowed until a couple years ago) but russ both deemed them “too hurt to continue.” what really happened was ben was forced to do petty-exercises outside and then when he asked to go to the haunted house, russ brushed it off and eventually refused to allow him into the house. ben was promised to be covered in rats and snakes, go through an underwater maze, and so much more, but was never even able to enter the house. doesn’t that raise some questions?

what ben has proposed so far regarding the manor

while i can’t retell every little thing ben has uncovered in his investigation, i can tell you about some of the main points. as you may have guessed, the haunted house actually doesn’t exist. the terrifying, thrilling, snake-ridden underwater maze haunted house actually doesn’t exist. not surprising. this point was proved when ben got in contact with an infamous mckamey manor hate group online. russ begged ben to help shut down the group, and so he did, but the group had one thing they wanted to see before they quieted down for good. all they wanted was to have russ show them at least one live animal that he keeps in the haunted house. this could include rats, snakes, or any large collection of bugs. after desperately wanting this group to be taken down, russ heard this one final term and chose not to show any animals DESPITE wanting the group to be taken down, effectively telling us that there were no animals in the house because the haunted house never existed at all. so what actually happens in the house if there is no haunted house? well, russ pretty much just makes you do rigorous exercises or he’ll beat you up as much as he can, making you “unable” to go through the house. also, you probably already guessed that the cash prize at the end is 100% fake, too. when you enter the house, you have absolutely no chance of getting the grand prize and making it through… not because the house is too hard to get through, but because it doesn’t even exist and russ would never let you win. if anything, you might go home in an ambulance instead.

reckless ben’s mckamey manor series and why you should watch it

what else good do you have to do with your time? this series is so interesting and is an excellent showcase of the new generation of investigative journalists. reckless ben has infiltrated so many different organizations so many times and the bravery he has is absolutely incredible. mckamey manor has been under the spotlight for many many years, and while so many people have suspected it of wrongdoing, ben has been one of the only ones who has had the courage to attack it head on and attempt to get it shut down. whether not you believe mckamey manor is an extreme haunted house or a man’s excuse to torture people legally, the infiltrating mckamey manor series is one of the most fulfilling you can find on the youtube platform (of course, many of the videos are being taken down as ben himself is getting sued by mckamey manor, lol). oh yeah, did i mention that ben managed to actually file paperwork that says he is the true owner of mckamey manor? despite what you may think, everything he did was legal- just absolutely crazy. if you’re interested in a skinny guy with the guts and audacity of a soldier do absolutely insane things (legally) to take down unfair corporations, cults, or scams… then reckless ben on youtube is for you!

here is a link to the playlist of the series (the video linked down below is the latest of the series, but it allows you to see the previous ones in the playlist). please let me know if you end up watching it, i’m a huge fan of him and all his videos ! well, that’s all from me. see you next month, scare fans.

the ending of neon genesis evangelion is perfect and here’s why

around this time last year, i was writing about the series “goodnight punpun”- a manga a close friend recommended to me that changed my life (and also ruined it.) well, apparently this friend can’t help sending me into episodes, because over the summer they convinced me to finally watch neon genesis evangelion. everything was fine. i was enjoying the show, for a while. i really enjoyed the graphics and i was very happy there wasn’t too many episodes, as it’s really hard for me to commit to a long-running show. everything was great, then i got to the final two episodes. i don’t think i’ve ever had such a strong emotional reaction to something like i did to the ending of neon genesis. i was hyperventilating, sobbing my ass off, on the floor WRITHING. my eyes were bloodshot. the ending of the show touched me in such a life-changing way (no, like, literally- my philosophy on life changed after i watched this show). so it’s no surprise that when i saw people absolutely hated the way the show ended, i had some thoughts. well, here are those thoughts. enjoy.

a quick explanation of the plot for context

so, the plot of evangelion can be hard to understand. i caught on pretty quickly, but i was also actually watching the show, not just reading a blog online. i’m going to try my best and explain the premise of the first part of the show. so, the show starts in 2015- 15 years after the “second impact.” the second impact was a global disaster that led to the death of half of the earth’s population. it was believed that the second impact was the result of a meteorite landing that changed the earth’s axis, but this was later proved to be false. the actual cause of the second impact was contact and experimentation with what would later be the first of the angels, adam. the angels are beings that are destroyed over the course of the series- they are adam’s offspring. these experiments were done by two organizations: SEELE and Gehirn. in 2010, Gehrin changed into a paramilitary organization called NERV. it is located in tokyo-3, which is a militarized civilian city. NERV’s mission is to destroy all angels predicted by SEELE, but the higher ups of NERV have a different mission. commander gendo ikari- the main character’s father- is the head of the human instrumentality project. the human instrumentality project is an effort to unite all human minds into one entity, effectively ending all human problems and loneliness. associated with NERV is the Marduk Institute. the Marduk Institute has the responsibility of finding pilots for their giant mecha machines: the evas. the most capable of piloting the evas are children born after the second impact: 14 year olds. the evas are used to destroy all angels. 

a quick retelling of the story for well… for context

okay yeah i know: lots of lore, but it’s essential. so basically the story of neon genesis evangelion follows 14 year old shinji ikari who is summoned to tokyo-3 by his father, gendo ikari. the year is 2015, and tokyo-3 is being attacked by the third angel. shinji doesn’t know much about his father– just that he works for something very important. shinji later finds out that he’s been summoned by his father to pilot the eva unit 01. he reluctantly agrees and lives with captain misato katsuragi in tokyo-3. shinji and fellow pilot rei ayanami defeat the third angel and are the two main pilots until they are later joined by asuka soryu, the eva unit 02 pilot. later in the show, there is a fourth pilot, but these three are the main characters. for the majority of the series, these three (and then four) go off to defeat each angel, getting increasingly more injured as the days go on. while this is happening, the true intentions of NERV become more apparent. also happening includes the deterioration of each character’s psyche, self esteem, physical body, etc. relationships grow tense and fall apart. visuals and story go haywire and almost unexplainable, and it all leads up to the final two episodes. those last two episodes are pure peak film, and i believe they end the series perfectly, despite popular opinion.

the end: instrumentality is completed

shinji kills the final angel and the instrumentality project is set into motion by his father. SEELE wants instrumentality to happen because of the spiritual belief that life is not fit to live in its current state; ikari wants instrumentality to happen to carry out the plans of his late wife– shinji’s mother. gendo has a desire to see her again and allow humanity a better future whereas SEELE desires a permanent reset. as the instrumentality project is set into motion, the show begins to look wildly different. each main character in the series begins to confront themselves in what can be described as an animated schizophrenic manner. shinji travels deep inside of himself and confronts the parts of him that he ignored throughout the show. he faces the reality of becoming his father, and he faces the comforting thought of being able to change his reality by accepting himself and redefining his worth. instrumentality is working, and dark is explored before light is found. as shinji slips deeper and deeper into his own mind, he realizes that his self worth has not only altered himself, but his friends and partners. visually, everything is stripped from us except for the image of shinji (and other characters and they too are depicted going through instrumentality). he begins to imagine him and his friends as normal teenagers in high school, and he begins to realize that this is only an alternate reality: an impossible possibility. shinji finds self-freedom, and he is able to realize his own self worth. there are two main endings to this series (i have not seen the others), and this one can only be described as the most hopeful and positive ending possible. shinji has a breakthrough and realizes his worth; everything is brought back and shinji stands surrounded by characters in the show. he has changed his path and is congratulated by all characters in the show. here is the final moment in a transcript.

Shinji:         The real world might not always be bad.
                But, I hate myself.

Makoto:         It's your mind that conceives that the reality is bad
                and hateful.

Shigeru:        The mind which confuses Reality with the Truth.

Maya:           The angle of view, the position. If these are slightly
                 different, what is inside your mind will change a lot.

Ryouji:         There are as many truths as there are people.

Kensuke:        But there's only one truth that you have,
                which is formed from your narrow view of the world,
                It is revised information to protect yourself,
                the twisted truth.

Touji:          Oh, yes. the view of the world that one can
                have is quite small.

Hikari:         Yes, you measure things only by your own small

Asuka:          One sees things with the truth, given by others.

Misato:         Happy on a sunny day.

Rei:            Gloomy on a rainy day.

Asuka:          If you're taught that, you always think so.

Ritsuko:        But, you can enjoy rainy days.

Fuyutsuki:      Through different ways of conceiving, the truth
                will change into very different things; it's a weak thing.

Ryouji:         The truth within a person is such a cheap thing that
                people wish to know deeper truths.

Gendou:         It's only that you're not used to being liked by people.

Misato:         So, you don't have to look to others' faces.

Shinji:         But, don't you hate me?

Asuka:          You idiot! It's only you who is always trying to believe

Shinji:         Yet, I hate myself.

Rei:            Those who hate themselves cannot love or trust others.

Shinji:         I am wicked, cowardly, weak and ..

Misato:         If you know yourself, you can be kind to others.

Shinji:         I hate myself.
                But, I might be able to love myself.
                I might be allowed to stay here.
                Yes. I am nothing but I.
                I am I. I wish to be I.
                I want to stay here!
                I can stay here!

People:         Congratulations!

Shinji:         Thank you!

                        Thank you, my father.
                        Good  bye, my mother.
                        And to the all the children,


these words completely destroyed me– but in such a great way. i too felt like i found a new worth in myself, and have been carrying that idea ever since. it’s truly like philosophy to me, and the final two episodes of this show completely changed my life and reality. everything about it is perfect.

final thoughts: the end of evangelion ruins every good thing about the ending of neon genesis

so, small fact, a lot of people really didn’t like the ending of neon genesis evangelion. they weren’t happy with the metaphorical and different approach it took– they would have much rather seen the true action-based ending. i am not one of these people, but oh well. in response to the backlash from the ending, hideaki anno basically said oh, you want a different ending? and gave us the disaster (but really great) that is the end of evangelion. to sum it up without explaining every detail, the end of evangelion is the ending in which shinji is not able to grow and expand himself. it is the ending in which instrumentality begins and he is unable to accept growth. everyone is shrouded in a disgusting and appalling light, much like shinji himself. nothing is positive about this ending, and instead of all characters being redeemed, they just get worse. one notable scene from this movie includes shinji choking asuka after she simply tells him the truth about himself. later, in the very final scene of the movie, he chooses to choke asuka once more. they are two washed up beings from the sea of humanity– the only two people– and he chooses to choke her once more. he does not grow. he becomes disgusting.

end: reality is not linear

while i like to tell myself the original ending of neon genesis is canon, i have to remind myself that there are infinite possibilities and endings in the evangelion universe. there are even some more recent movies that i have never seen with COMPLETELY different endings. it’s like a grab bag of endings, and you can pick which one you like the most and attempt to rid your mind of the other endings. hideaki anno described the series as a jigsaw puzzle with no reference photo: everything fits in the end, but every person who completes the puzzle will have a different finished piece. no two completed puzzles will be the same, just like no two perspectives and ideas of evangelion will be the same. there are infinite ways to analyze this series, and the implications are beautiful. it is truly a perfect and devastating series, and while i do love the end of evangelion, nothing compares to the final two episodes of neon genesis evangelion. absolutely nothing.

thank you to my father, goodbye to my mother, and to all the children, congratulations!


the importance of understanding impulsive vs. intrusive and why the “letting my intrusive thoughts win” trend is harmful

i’m sure at some point you’ve seen a video of someone acting out in a unpredictable way- most likely acting on an impulse that most ignore. you go to the comments and every single one says something along the lines of “letting my intrusive thoughts win.” you get a laugh; it’s just a harmless joke, right? what you see as a harmless joke is what people with ocd- like me- see as a kick to the face. if our intrusive thoughts were something harmless like that, i’m sure we’d be laughing too. when we try to explain to people the difference between impulsive vs. intrusive, they get hostile: offended even. then you have those who claim to be an english professor who blindly explain what intrusive “actually” means while idiotically ignoring the idea of a clinical term. people don’t take the differentiation seriously enough, and as someone who has had such crippling struggles with ocd and intrusive thoughts, i’m sick of it.

let’s talk about what “intrusive thoughts” actually are

intrusive thoughts can be defined as unwanted, distressing and repetitive thoughts that often go against your morals. these can include acting out towards people you love in violent or morally unacceptable ways. intrusive thoughts are not exclusive to people with ocd- but they are a common (and arguably the most debilitating) sign of the illness. they can make you question your own morals and convince yourself you actually want to act out on your thoughts. this is not the case. intrusive thoughts are the manifestation of your worst fears and the things that disturb you the most/go against your morals. someone who has intrusive thoughts about hurting themselves or hurting someone they love does not want to act out on those thoughts. actually, it means that they are incredibly disturbed by those thoughts and would most likely do anything to ensure they don’t happen- like acting out compulsions, another common sign of ocd. people who experience intrusive thoughts are not their thoughts, and their thoughts do not represent their urges or morals at all.

now that we know what intrusive thoughts are, what are impulsive thoughts?

impulsive thoughts are exactly what they sound like. they are thoughts of acting out on an impulse. an impulse is defined as a strong urge or desire to act on something. that is one of the main differences between impulsive vs. intrusive- an impulsive thought is something you have an urge/desire to act out on, an intrusive thought is a thought that is uncomfortable and more often than not disgusts you: it is something you would never want to act out on. impulsive thoughts could be something like wanting to cut your own hair at 2am even though you know you’d botch it, or the urge to grab and eat food you see in the fridge that isn’t yours. the difference is drastic, so why do people insist on using intrusive when they really mean impulsive? maybe it’s unwillingness to change, or maybe it’s pure disregard for mental health. 

how is using “intrusive” when you mean “impulsive” harmful to others?

i first started getting intrusive thoughts when i was 14, and i was too scared to tell anyone about it. i thought everyone would think i was a horrible person and call me crazy- the one word no one with ocd wants to be called. if you use “intrusive” when you mean “impulsive,” it gives people the wrong idea about what intrusive thoughts actually are- so when people with genuine intrusive thoughts explain what they experience, others react in a negative and disgusted manner because they have this false idea that intrusive thoughts are harmless impulses that wouldn’t harm anyone in any serious way to act out on. this makes people with ocd feel crazy and misunderstood, and being understood is the most important thing when it comes to dealing with ocd. another thing is how people say they “let their intrusive thoughts win.” if someone with genuine intrusive thoughts “let them win,” they would be imprisoned or dead. telling someone with intrusive thoughts to “let them win” is disgusting and disrespectful, and it only showcases how uneducated you are. 

now that we understand the difference and how using intrusive when we mean impulsive is harmful, where do we go from here? 

as someone with ocd, when i see the misuse of the term “intrusive thoughts,” i educated immediately. you should too. if you see someone using the term intrusive incorrectly, you need to correct them and explain the severity of their mistake. if you ignore it and allow them to use the incorrect term, you are harming MILLIONS of people with ocd and worsening the mindset around genuine intrusive thoughts. it is not hard to switch “intrusive” to “impulsive.” if you are not willing to make that change, then you are the exact problem i have described in this blog. don’t be complacent. speak up when you see misinformation regarding ocd. don’t just let it happen- for all of our sakes. 

a final note to everyone who has ocd and/or experiences intrusive thoughts

you are not your thoughts. that’s right, you. are. not. your. thoughts. there is nothing wrong with you and you are not alone. if you are someone i know reading this, just know that the only reason i wrote about this is because i experience it too. you are not alone. please come to me if you need help dealing with this crippling disease. i’ve struggled so that i can  help others, and i will not hesitate to share this wisdom with you. it’s going to be okay. you’re going to be okay. everything is going to be okay<3.

a final note to everyone else

the best thing you can do to help is educating yourself on ocd and the difference between intrusive and impulsive. you can even start right here on the msa literary blog! my beautiful friend and former roommate emma stapp has many articles about ocd and i 100% recommend reading each one she has posted: they are beautifully written and so important.

here are additional resources about ocd and intrusive thoughts to learn from:,mind%20without%20any%20apparent%20trigger.

i sincerely hope this blog helped you & inspired you to educate yourself on ocd. let’s come together and end the misconceptions about ocd and intrusive thoughts!<3 

also please check out emma stapp’s article “ocd is not an adjective…”

an ode to goodbyes

when i first arrived at msa, i knew only a couple seniors and my roommate. during the first week, i felt so alone and could barely keep myself together. i wanted to go home. i called my mom and told her i had no friends, and i didn’t want to be here anymore. she simply told me to go out and at least try before coming home. so i did. during the water park trip at the beginning of the year, i went out and tried my best to talk to people- and that’s how i met some of my closest friends. others reached out to me on social media, and we quickly became close. others have been by my side since the summer. this blog is dedicated to them, as each one will be leaving. i love all of you, and remember to stay in touch:)

an ode to locklyn:

locklyn, you are one of my favorite people on the planet. we met over the summer and immediately had a connection. i enjoyed talking to you so much, and i was so excited to have a friend. when i moved in, i was awkward and nervous, but being around you helped me so much. despite my disposition, you wanted to hang out with me and you loved being my friend- something that helped me value myself more. we have had so many moments together that i can’t even have a favorite. every second spent with you is enjoyable, and i’m so glad that we met. music is one thing we have connected between us, and i cherish that so much. you got me into slipknot, and i got you into elliott smith. you’re the jonathan davis to my fred durst. i’m so excited to see you at ole miss and hopefully live with you there too !! stay cool, and always remember to damn the man. i love you!

song dedicated to you: lover, you should’ve come over by jeff buckley

an ode to cain:

cain, i would have never guessed that we would become friends. which doesn’t make sense, really. i followed you before i moved in, but when i first saw you, i didn’t say a single word. it wasn’t until the water park trip that i even said hi to you. then, suddenly, we became close. ever since then, we continue to get closer and closer. anytime i see you, my day is brightened. i genuinely love you so much. sometimes you can be a little silly and do little stupid silly things, but it doesn’t make me love you any less. one of my favorite moments with you dates back to artoberfest where you gave me the biggest bruise of my life. you roughed me up so bad, but because it was you, i didn’t mind. my arm still shivers when i get near you. other moments include watching you laugh so hard over your own story, every time you’ve ever yelled super loudly in public (as much as i hated it), and the long talks we’ve had on the swings outside. you’ve been there for me since day one, and i will continue to be there for you. i’m so excited to see you over the summer. stay awesome, cain:)

song dedicated to you: alameda by elliott smith

an ode to emma:

emma, my dearest roommate. i surprisingly don’t have many photos of us together, but i like to think it’s because we’re too busy making awful jokes to notice. i met you towards the beginning of the year, and i instantly knew that we had so much in common. like, a scary amount in common. when i got the news that my roommate was leaving in december, you were the first person i messaged. i’m so glad i did that, because now i have the best roommate anyone could ever ask for. seeing you walk into the room instantly makes me so happy. there is never a dull moment when we are both in the room. even when i’m not feeling well, you never fail to make me laugh. i will forever miss walking into the room and hearing you instantly have something to tell me, or almost being asleep and then hearing you absolutely laugh your ass off- immediately sending me whatever it is you’re looking at. you’re so talented and i’m absolutely so excited to see what your future holds. you’re one of my closest friends and an excellent singer of the wishing tree song from south park. have a great summer, emma:)

song dedicated to you: needles and pins by jackie deshannon

an ode to kameron:

kameron. we don’t have a single photo together, which is crazy because you are genuinely one of my closest friends of all time. you followed me over the summer, and i followed you back after some time. when i moved in, i didn’t connect you to the account i had been following. all i knew was you seemed super cool and i desperately wanted to be your friend. i remember posting something on my story about wanting new friends and after about thirty minutes, you messaged me. it was an awkward start simply sharing music, but it turned into one of my most cherished friendships of all time. we have talked to each other almost every single day of this school year with no breaks. i introduced you to elliott smith, and you got me into what is now one of my favorite manga series of all time (goodnight punpun). punpun became a huge part of our friendship, and now all your drawings of him that you have gifted me are on display in my room at home:) i genuinely have never had such a kind and caring friend like you, and i know neither of us will let our friendship die out. i can’t wait to see you over the summer (hopefully we can actually communicate like real human beings). stay cool kameron, and yes, you do look like will toledo.

song dedicated to you: there must be more than blood by car seat headrest

if you aren’t featured here, please do know that i still love you and care about you. this blog is dedicated to the people who have made the most impact on my life. there are still so many others that i love and am so grateful for. with that being said, here’s to the year of 22′-23′, and here’s to the people that got me through it. i’m endlessly thankful for you all. see you later:)<3

signing out,


guardians of the galaxy 3 review/thoughts

oh dear god.

i have been the biggest fan of the guardians of the galaxy series since the very first one came out. i’ve seen each movie in theaters within two days of it coming out. i love it. i’ve also seen the specials (i love them as well). so obviously when i found out that the last one would be coming out, i was destroyed but excited. i love james gunn- he is one of my favorite directors, and he never lets me down. i knew i would love the third installment, but i didn’t realize the extent of the affect it would have on me. not only do i think it is my favorite movie in the series, but for the past couple of days, it has completely changed my way of thinking and made me so emotional. it might just be because of the point in the month, but i have been sobbing everyday since seeing it. ya’ll, when i watched it, i wanted to bang my head against the wall until it exploded. i genuinely could not take it. i’m very sensitive to harm towards animals, so this movie really got to me. my favorite character has always been rocket, so i was especially interested in this movie. it wasn’t until after my mom told me that she sobbed during it that i debated even going to see it in theaters. but of course i couldn’t break the streak, so i went with a couple friends. don’t do that. i held back tears for the sake of saving face- and now i’m going to go watch it again with my boyfriend, and i will not be holding back a single damn emotion. i grew so attached to these sweet characters just to- i won’t spoil it, but it gets super dark and super depressing. you will cry. you will sob. and then at the end you’ll attempt to smile as florence + the machine plays but inside you will be sobbing. 10/10 movie, 10/10 series.

it’s great to have friends.

current rotation #4

welcome back to my random installment of my current rotation!! the month of april was big for me and music. a year ago, i grew an obsession with car seat headrest around this time- now, a year later, i have revisited that obsession and sparked a new one. so you’ll probably see some of them on there !! i also have some new artists that i’ve never heard previously on this list- including lil ugly mane. so, with that being said, let’s get into it !! 

there must be more than blood – car seat headrest

this song has had a total chokehold on me recently. i wasn’t the biggest fan when i first heard it about a year ago- at least it didn’t totally incapacitate me. now however, the song has been playing at least once a day in my head for an entire month. i always said me and this band were connected souls, and now i’m really starting to think i was right about that. my favorite part of this song comes right around 3:17. the way will toledo sings those lines INCAPACITATES ME. it’s genuinely just so good. the lyrics too- i could go on forever. 

gimme shelter – the rolling stones

so, half of why this song has been on repeat for me is because i just wrote a piece surrounded by the song (you’ve probably already read it), but i also just found this song again after absolute YEARS of not hearing, and of course, i love it as much as i did back then. the backstory behind the background vocals always breaks my heart, but i can almost hear the pain in her voice towards the end of it- and it truly is so powerful. my mom would always play the rolling stones when i was younger, so now when the band plays, both me and my mother have a bonding moment. i really love this song, but after listening to it on repeat for 2 hours while i wrote my story, i love it just a tiny bit less /j.

porcelain slightly – lil ugly mane

i found this song on a youtube video by cscoop- one of my favorite youtubers. i skate, and he skates, so that’s a bond like no other. during one of his videos, this song came on and i instantly fell in love. something about it makes me think about when i was in my freshman year of high school. i feel like this song sounds like how i looked back then. i haven’t been skating in a while, but the next time i do, this song will be the first one i play.

it’s called a heart – depeche mode 

yes, i’m still thinking about seeing depeche mode for my birthday in october. i found this song while randomly shuffling through their discography, and i fell in love immediately. i first listened to the extended version, but i found that i love this version much better. dave’s voice always gets me- and martin’s lyrics are so ….. god i love them. such a great song, and i can’t wait to find more songs from them that i love.

so that’s all for this week !! let me know if you recognize any of these awesome songs. so, yeah- cya next week !

my future !!?!

hello everyone !! so, this is a little last minute blog, but i thought it would be pretty cool to have a smaller laid back post after the influx of my highly detailed music odes. so yeah, i’m just going to be talking about my future after high school !! let’s get into it.

       okay so, after graduating i will be applying to the honors college at ole miss !! for so long i’ve debated on where to go to college, and some part of me still wants to apply to the old ivy league schools i used to dream of (i’m looking at you, yale). maybe i will just for fun, but going to the university of mississippi is much more convenient and useful for me as a writer ! i will be majoring in journalism and minoring in something most likely related to english. i haven’t really thought about a minor, but i know i’ll be majoring in journalism. the thing that i’m scared about regarding that major is ending up with a boring job as a journalist for a boring magazine. i want to work for a music magazine, as writing about music is one of my biggest passions. i also want to BE a musician, but i’ve decided on doing that in my spare time rather than basing my entire life on it. however, if i get enough traction, i will happily drop everything to become a full time musician. 

       the honors college wasn’t something i really thought of until my amazing awesome cool rad friend locklyn recommended it to me !! i’ve always thought of going to ole miss, but i never really fully decided until this year. the honors college has so many features that are so appealing and i’m very determined to get in. i’m currently working on building my resume and adding more things to my name that will help increase my changes of getting in. when i’m in college, i want to work at a small part-time job. ideally, i’ll try working at the end of all music: a record store in oxford. i’ve been thinking about working there since before i even decided i wanted to go to ole miss (so for about a year). if i can’t work there, then any other store related to my interests will suffice.

       after college, i have no idea what i want to do. i know i want to work for a music magazine, so i guess i’ll just go wherever that takes me. i know i want to live outside the state for a while, so if a job opportunity in another state comes up, i’ll use that as an opportunity to travel outside of mississippi. i know i want to continue doing the things i do now. i don’t want to be true professional, and i want to have a lot of fun. i want to live near a skatepark so after work i can skate with a couple of friends and explore the town at night. i want to do all the stupid teenage things i wasn’t able to do as a teenager: only after my future is secured. 

       after that, i don’t know. i want to keep music and writing in my life, but i doubt i’ll continuing writing the same way i write now. i’ll always be a writer, but i’m sure i won’t actually create creative pieces expect for once a year or so (whenever it comes to me, really). but yeah. that’s what i have planned out for my future. i never want to be old and boring, so if you ever meet me again while i’m living this future, i hope you’ll be able to confidently say that i never really changed.

an ode to elliott smith

so, we all knew this was coming. how can i have a series of odes to my favorite musicians without dedicating one to my favorite artist of all time? although he wasn’t the first one, he will definitely be the most fleshed out edition to this series. this post might be quite long, so i want to keep the intro as short as i can. so, without further ado, here is an ode to elliott smith

the early years: the location and upbringing of elliott smith

steven paul smith was born august 6th, 1969 in omaha, nebraska. for the majority of his childhood, he was raised in texas with his mother and stepfather. smith had a hard childhood, and suffered a strained relationship with his stepfather. later in his life, he would come out with stories about the abuse he suffered in his childhood home. smith started playing the piano at age 9, and quickly grew a large love for music. in later interviews in which he was asked how he learned how to play certain songs as a kid, he stated he would record a part of a song and play it over and over while attempting to match the notes. later, when he was ten, he started playing guitar- the instrument that would cement him as one of the greatest musicians of all time. at age 14, smith moved away from his mother in texas and went to live with his father in portland, oregon. during high school, smith would begin to experiment with recording music and even join the school band. outside of that, he also began to create his own bands, and was apart of the bands “stranger than fiction” and “a murder of crows.” he graduated from lincoln high school as a national merit scholar. shortly after graduation, he began to go by the name “elliott.” 

dead air, cop and speeder, and yellow no. 5: heatmiser and elliott smith’s punk years

after graduating from hampshire college, elliott began to work in a bakery in portland despite having a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and political science. during this time, the band heatmiser was formed. the band consisted of guitarist and backup vocalist elliott smith, lead singer neil gust, drummer tony lash, and bassist brandt peterson. the band started performing in local venues in portland around 1992. under the heatmiser name, the group released the albums “dead air,” “cop and speeder,” and “yellow no. 5.” later, the group would release their final album before splitting, “mic city sons.” smith had already begun his solo career while in the band, and worked various construction jobs while recording what would later become his first solo album, roman candle. the contrast between elliott’s punk vocals and style in heatmiser and his softer melancholic tone in his solo music is often a shock for most, sometimes even elliott himself. while working on and releasing their album “cop and speeder,” elliott released his debut album “roman candle” and began to perform in small, local venues once again.

in this song, elliott smith is singing lead.

roman candle: lofi beginnings

in 1994, the debut solo album from smith was released until the title “roman candle.” the album featured 9 songs on it- to elliott’s shock, as he had originally signed a deal for a 7 inch record. the album is the calm after the grunge storm of the late 1990s. before its release, elliott claimed he did not expect the album to be well-liked because of the grunge movement. but once again to his shock, the album was incredibly well-received, and smith’s name was being brought up everywhere in the portland scene. while performing solo shows, smith often created sets of combined acoustic heatmiser tracks with his solo ones. a year after the release of roman candle, elliott would begin working on what would become his two biggest albums. 

self-titled, either/or, and an academy nomination: elliott smith 

in 1995, elliott smith released his self-titled album. while the album was similar in style to the previous debut album, the self-titled album was of greater recording quality and the songwriting showed significant improvement. songs like “needle in the hay” and “the biggest lie” began to cement elliott as a dark, depressing artist in the folk scene. smith would later resent this idea of him, attempting to diversify his songwriting in the hopes of erasing that characteristic. in 1997, elliott released what would later become his most well-known album, either/or. while the self-titled album introduced more instrumentation into elliott’s songwriting, either/or was arguably the single album that drove elliott to begin using more instruments in his music, later becoming more apparent in his album “xo.” songs like “angeles” and “between the bars” drove him to being featured everywhere, notably in director gus van sant’s movies. later, sant would create a movie titled “good will hunting,” and would call upon smith to create a song for the movie. many of smith’s songs were featured in the movie, but he created the song “miss misery” for it and got an academy nomination because of it. while he was nominated for the song, he did not win. he did, however, perform at the oscars, shooting his popularity into an unmeasurable size. 

xo and figure 8: the beginning of the end

when creating his album xo, smith began to fall deeper and deeper into a depression. he talked about the idea of suicide frequently, and even had a failed attempt in which he threw himself off of a cliff. he was injured, but in the end survived. in 1998, elliott released xo and it received high praise. this album featured the largest group of instruments on any elliott smith solo album, and shortly after its released it was followed by a tour. smith began to appear on television more frequently, and even performed waltz #2 on saturday night live the same year. during a dutch special, smith performed “miss misery,” “i didn’t understand,” and “waltz #2,”- the last of which he stopped mid-song, claiming he “just couldn’t do it anymore.” in 2000, smith would release his final fully completed album, figure 8. around this time, he battled with addiction and would often perform shows too high and/or drunk to even speak. figure 8 was recorded at abbey road studios and was once again praised by the general public after its release. a tour followed the release and even more late night show performances took place, including one on conan and david letterman. smith grew addicted to heroin and his state started to worsen towards the end of the figure 8 tour. 

a basement on the hill: addiction and recovery

while recording his final album- which would never be completely finished on his own- smith’s addiction grew worse. his paranoid increased and he began distancing himself from everyone helping him on the new album, leading to a delay in recording. even when smith was able to hold a session, it was often he would get kicked out of it for being high or abusing substances during the session. many times during the recording of the album smith would scrap it in its entirety. along with the album, smith had a lack of time to perform locally like he used to. he would more often than not choose to cancel most shows, and when he was able to make it, he was almost always on something during the shows. he would often leave the shows mid-set after messing up a couple songs. elliott was a perfectionist when it came to playing live sets, and that affected him greatly when he was no longer able to play with the same dexterity due to his substance abuse. in 2002, smith and his girlfriend were arrested for standing up for a man he believed was being abused by the police. they spent two nights in jail, and smith suffered injuries from the arrest that caused him to cancel even more shows. when he did play shows, he would tease songs for his upcoming album. he attempted to start rehab multiple times, but each time he was unable to find what worked best for him. slowly but surely though, smith began to fight his addiction. he continued scheduling shows to attempt to build his credit as an artist back up, but he was still struggling as his addiction had lasting effects on him during that period of time. as he continued to record a basement on the hill, he slowly got sober. right after his birthday in 2003, he completely cut out alcohol and even began to cut out red meat, sugar, and completely transform his diet. he also completely stopped using drugs, and close friends recalled him being at an ultimate high point in his life. he was doing well, and he was making unbelievable progress on the record. however, later that year, elliott smith would face a heartbreaking fate, putting a halt to his music and legacy, and most importantly, his life.


elliott smith died on october 21st, 2003. he was 34 years old. he and his girlfriend were in their home in california when they got into an argument. his girlfriend, jennifer chiba, went to the bathroom and locked herself in there when she heard a scream from the living room. she ran into the room to find elliott with a knife to his chest. she pulled out the knife (she was a nurse at the time, which means she must have known pulling out the knife would have caused him to bleed out) and he fell to floor which caused chiba to call 911. elliott smith died in the hospital at 1:36pm. a suicide note was found on the scene- but with one problem: his name was misspelled on the suicide note. during an autopsy, doctors found no hesitation wounds on elliott- which are always present on suicide cases in which a knife has been used. while the first ruling of death was claimed to be a suicide, later it was opened up to be a possible homicide. we may never know what actually happened, but if you ask me, i think the reason for his death was right there in the room with him. a memorial was held for him at the same wall where the album cover for his 2000 album figure 8 was taken. 

lasting impact and how he changed my life: the experience of elliott smith

elliott smith completely changed the music scene, and he has been a beloved musician throughout the ages since his death. while the circumstances around his death are deeply sad and troubling, we continue to celebrate his life and his creativity through tribute shows and memorials. he has inspired so many young musicians, including me. elliott’s music has been in my life since i was a very young child, and as soon as i learned to love music, i loved him. he has figuratively and literally saved my life time and time again, and i truly wouldn’t be here without him. he inspires me to write, create, and just as he was- be kind. not a day goes by that i don’t feel his legacy in my own life, and to end this blog i wish to introduce you to a song that will forever cement itself in my heart and my favorite song ever written. it has saved my life multiple times and it will continue to give me reason. here is “angeles.” elliott, we love you. 

“i can make you satisfied in everything you do. all your secret wishes could right now be coming true, and be forever with my poison arms around you.”

“no one’s gonna fool around with us, no one’s gonna fool around with us, so glad to meet you, angeles.”


an ode to jeff buckley

i’ve decided to make my music odes a series, and for the second artist in the series, i have decided to focus in on the music, rather than the details of his life and how he grew prominent in the music industry. jeff buckley is an artist that devastatingly took over my life within a matter of a couple weeks. his influence on my own art has been prominent ever since that first listen. his voice, his writing, his demeanor- all have contributed to my own growth as a human. not only has he contributed to the inspiration and life of millions of teenagers like me, but he has changed the music industry and even what we define as masculine. please allow me to introduce an ode to jeff buckley.

music in genetics: the upbringing of jeff buckley

jeff buckley was born in anaheim, california, to the musician tim buckley and his ex-wife, mary guilbert. jeff’s father, tim, set the path for the musician’s life, cementing the idea of creating in his head from an early age. however, jeff was not raised by his own father, but instead his stepfather along with his mother. he lived in california with his half-brother during an upbringing he titled “rootless trailer trash.” before his biological father’s death, jeff went by scott moorhead. after his father’s passing, he changed his last name to buckley and chose to go by his biological first name, jeff. even though he was not brought up around his father for a large portion of his life, he still had so much musical influence around him. his mother was a pianist and cellist and his stepfather introduced him bands like led zeppelin, pink floyd, jimi hendrix, and the who. at 12, he decided to start creating his own music, and received his first guitar at age 13. throughout high school, he played in different bands and developed a love for progressive rock. after he graduated, he attended the musicians institute for one year, later claiming it was “the biggest waste of time.” 

the anticipation of a masterpiece: life before grace

before releasing his album, grace- which we will spend more than enough time talking about later in the blog- jeff passed his time in many smaller unrecognized bands before going solo. for six years after attending the musicians institute, jeff worked in a hotel while playing guitar in various bands that stretched across a large number of genres. throughout different trips to new york, jeff began writing the songs “mojo pin” and “grace,” two songs that would later be featured on grace. he then began to perform at small venues solo and started getting heavy attention from different record label executives. buckley then signed with columbia records and set off on recording his first EP, which would include four songs and a cover of van morrison’s “the way that young lovers do.” 

grace: the masterpiece

in august of 1994, buckley’s first and only studio album, grace, was released. it featured the following songs: mojo pin, grace, last goodbye, lilac wine, so real, hallelujah, lover you should’ve come over, corpus christi carol, eternal life, and dream brother. the album has been claimed to be one of the greatest of all time, and is listed in rolling stones’ top 500 albums of all time. the album has also achieved platinum 8x in australia and was ranked 99 in a list of the top 1,000 albums of all time. buckley’s voice is like no other, not even his father’s, and his writing transcends the hot topics of the 90s that other musicians at the time were still infatuated with. songs like “lover, you should’ve come over” have proven to overstep time, as its popularity is still prevalent in society today. “grace” will forever be known as buckley’s magnum opus, even gaining attention from folk music legend, bob dylan- who claimed buckley to be “one of the greatest songwriters of this decade.”

last goodbye: the end of jeff buckley, the beginning of the legacy

while swimming in the wolf river harbor- contained within the mississippi river- jeff buckley passed away due to an accidental drowning. he was 30 years old. after his death, numerous collections were released, including many previously unreleased songs. his life and work have been celebrated over the years, even gaining attraction recently from his song “lover, you should’ve come over.” his name has been referenced in a wide variety of films, and musicians today continue to draw inspiration from his unique sound and voice. jeff buckley will forever be an artist that completely changed how i interpret music, and now i’d like to introduce him to you too. here is “lilac wine.”

“lilac wine is sweet and heady, like my love”


an ode to car seat headrest

car seat headrest is a band i was introduced to in march of 2022. i vividly remember checking my discover weekly on spotify and seeing the band and their song “it’s only sex” on the playlist. i had heard of them before, so i decided to check them out by listening to the song featured on the playlist. i remember thinking that the band sounded not at all like i had expected, so i went to their artist page and listened to the song “sober to death.” something happened when i listened to that song, and i immediately became obsessed with the band in its entirety. in that same night, i explored the majority of their discography and sparked a love that i am still feeling to this day. even now, when i hear “sober to death,” a certain part of me is awakened, something that rarely happened before i found the band. this week’s blog is an ode to car seat headrest: the band that changed me. 

a teenager dancing in his dorm to his own song; will toledo and the early albums

car seat headrest was originally composed of one member, will toledo, who started the band when he graduated high school. the name stems from the place where he recorded most of his music: his car. he released four albums, named in order as 1, 2, 3, and 4. while 1 and 2 had a lack of structure, and displayed toledo’s experimentation in the early days of the band, 3 and 4 showed his later developed indie style. he would go on the release the “sunburned shirts ep,” followed by the album “my back is killing me baby,” which would include the song “something soon.” a student at virginia commonwealth university, toledo decided to record a music video by setting up a camera in his dorm and dancing to his own song. the video is a testament to the transition between teenage emotions and adulthood expectations, and has never failed at making someone like me- who is in between those stages- emotional. this is something toledo has proven to master in his music: raw emotion in relation to teenage development. however, it wouldn’t be until his release of arguably his magnum opus, “twin fantasy,” that people would start to take notice.

teenage love, dog motifs, and the start of something big

after transferring to william & mary, toledo found himself in the midst of a confusing and messy relationship. he found this relationship weaving its way into his music, and in 2011, he compiled those thoughts together and released the album “twin fantasy.” the album cover itself is notable, as it is two dog-like figures holding each other in an optical illusion. the album follows the interactions and love/hatred between toledo and his lover at the time. the album gained a cult following, and soon the band would follow up in 2018 with a re-recording of the album, now with three other members: ethan ives (guitar), andrew katz (drums), and seth dalby (bass). with this release, the album gained an even larger following. the original 2011 recording of the album is regarded as the “mirror to mirror” version, whereas the 2018 recording is the “face to face” version. depending on the recording, the album cover switches orientation. just a year before the rerelease of twin fantasy, toledo and the band released the albums, “monomania,” “disjecta membra,” “nervous young man,” “teens of style,” and “teens of denial,”- the last of which shot the band up in popularity once again.

making a door less open and sudden change; the future of car seat headrest

after the release of the face to face version of twin fantasy, the band set off to finally create new songs again. because the songs on twin fantasy were already previously created, the last album the band worked on and created together was 2016’s teens of denial, making a brand new album overdue. in 2020, the band announced the studio album “making a door less open.” this album introduced the character “trait” to the band, sparking will’s future of dressing up as the character at live shows. along with the announcement, the band released “can’t cool me down” as a single. the style difference between teens of denial and making a door less open are drastic- the band trading out their traditional indie-rock instrumentation for more hints of electronic and edm in their music. once released, the album received poor reviews, most fans upset about the sudden change in style. others argue that the change was executed perfectly and welcomed the new style the band had adopted. songs like “there must be more than blood” have been praised by fans of the band, even securing an acoustic version on youtube. while on tour in 2022, lead singer will toledo developed long covid and canceled a large number of shows. as of now, it is not apparent whether will has fully recovered, but with the amount of time it’s been, it is likely that he is still dealing with issues from the illness. the band is rumored to release a new album within the next two years.

crying during class, dancing alone in my room, and finding true acceptance; my experience with the band and their music

after finding the band in 2022, i went through an emotional rollercoaster. i’ve had many moments where i’ve found myself in music, but never has it happened quite like it did with car seat headrest (except of course elliott smith). i found a sense of belonging in the awkwardly-written teenage lines of twin fantasy, and i found happiness in between the sparkly guitars of teens of denial. in april of 2022, i prepared myself to see the band live. however, due to will’s sickness, the show was canceled and would not be rescheduled. emotionally, i was a wreck: before and after this. those previous and upcoming months i spent every second of the day listening to the band’s music. i remember distinctly arriving at school, sitting in the corner of the gym and listen to “something soon” on repeat while silently sobbing only to come home that day and listen to it again- this time dancing the cries out. after a couple obsessive months, i slowly fell out of the habits i developed around the band. it’s been a quite bit of time since i’ve distanced myself from their music: an uncomfortable quiet- the quiet before a breakdown that cements itself in your memories. with a declining mental state comes the revisitation of car seat headrest. that’s not to say you can’t listen to the band during any other state, if anything, the band covers all bases. to mirror this idea, and to close the blog, i’d like to introduce the song “beach life-in-death,” the climax of a song series dating back to the numbered albums. please, allow yourself to listen to this song.. in its 13 minute glory ..and feel every emotion this band has made me feel over the past year. enjoy, and goodbye.

side note: as writers, we must explore all forms of writing, even in the song medium. please, notice the writing as you listen to the song, and let me know what you got from it.

we said we hated humans,

we wanted to be human.