Most of the videos I make for my YouTube channel don’t often have any kind of interesting story behind the reason that they were made. Most. That is not the case for the video called “Relax with a Union Soldier | ASMR” for which this piece of writing is about. But this isn’t really so much about the video and how & why it came to be, than it is about how I came to have a newfound interest in the topic of the video at hand: the American Civil War, more specifically Ulysses S. Grant.
When I was a kid, I hated school for the most part. First off, I went to Roman Catholic school, so there was that. When it came to history though, I could have cared less about anything that was not relevant or important to my survival and growing up. Of course, that’s not how I thought of it back then when I was a kid, but today that pretty much sums up my lack of interest in history and social studies. Ugh. Social Studies…
Fast forward to the date of this writing, and for the most part I still have zero interest in history. I like being a simple bipedal hominid: I like family, food, art, nature, games, tech and science (to a degree… i love/hate tech, and dislike almost everything about space exploration for certain reasons, but that’s another article). I do like certain aspects of history such as things revolving around aboriginal tribes, nature, and war. But beyond that.. I could really care less as to who was president, why the roman aqueducts were built, what the state capitals are, who invented whatever, etc. etc.
A few years ago someone commented on my YouTube channel that I should do a Civil War ASMR role-play. I thought that was a good idea, but at that time I wasn’t sure how to go about it, as is the case with most suggestions or even my own ideas. For whatever reason, some ideas just take time to develop and it has nothing to do with needing to be elaborate, well thought out, or spending money on a ton of props. I would continue to think about the Civil War idea off an on over the next few years until March of this year (2020) when all of a sudden my brain decided it was the right time to do the video (who am I to question my brain? It commands, I obey). So I did some research, purchased a variety of props (including civil war reproduction uniform and tent), and made the video.
But about a month prior to making the video, and the whole point of this piece of writing, is that sometime in April, the History Channel previewed a trailer for an upcoming mini-series about the civil war called “Grant”. My wife and I couldn’t help but chuckle at the coincidence: here I am preparing to do a video based on the Civil War, and the History channel is releasing a documentary about it. How apropos. Or is it synchronicity? It was as if the universe was telling me that I needed to watch the series before I could make my video on it (which even more coincidentally wasn’t ready to be filmed until after the series). Too funny.
So we watched the Grant mini series and it was spectacular! Very well produced and acted, sucked me in, and most importantly it had lots of tasty non-biased history morsels about Grant and the Civil War. Nothing appeared to be sugar-coated. And for the first time in my life I had an actual interest in both Ulysses S. Grant and the American Civil War. So much so that after the series was over I was pouring over Grant’s wikipedia entry and even looking for books about him. I have to give kudos to the History Channel. Event though they still produce a lot of dramatized, reality TV crap and are no longer purely history like they once were, I must congratulate them on this.
While watching the series I couldn’t help myself but to feel an overall sense of camaraderie or affinity with Grant as a person for various reasons:
His sense of humility / humble nature
He made mistakes (especially during the war and presidency) yet wasn’t too proud nor too stubborn to learn from them and try his best to fix them
He was a peaceful man (ironically)
He was sensitive and quiet as a child
He freed a slave that he somehow owned (I don’t want to be naive to think it he was purely out of sympathy / empathy as it could have been, but who really knows. He freed a slave, and that’s all that matters. If I learn anything about this in his memoirs, I will update this post)
He appointed Jewish people to federal office
He was sympathetic to women’s rights and female suffrage
He proposed a constitutional amendment that tried to ban religion in school (including atheism and paganism) and prohibit religious funding, but it was eventually defeated by the Senate.
He tried to destroy the KKK (was somewhat successful)
He had a Native American on his staff (Ely S. Parker, who also served in the war with Grant)
Tried his best to help the Native Americans with his Native American policy
And of course, he helped the Union win the Civil War (if you ask me, he was the sole reason the Union won. No Grant = No W in the Win Loss column)
He had a big heart
I never knew these things about Ulysses S. Grant and it was eye-opening to say the least. I knew I liked him for a reason. Well a dozen reasons, actually.
So there you have it. What started out to be just a simple, fun role-play of my portraying a union soldier during the civil war, turned out to be quite the unexpected educational experience.
Thanks to those who suggested the video idea, thanks to the History Channel’s mini series, and most importantly, thanks to everyone involved in the Civil War, because if the North had never won, would any of us, even YouTube itself, even be here?? How often do we take our freedom for… wait for it… Granted.
Now, if you’ll excuse me… I just received the paperback version of “The Complete Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant” which is something I never thought I would own, let alone have the desire to read. I am very excited to soak up everything Ulysses S. Grant wrote. And who knows… maybe one day, or in a few years, I will make my own video about him…
Below are the “poems” (minus the poem “Meat”) from the “The Poetry of Iggy Manley” video. I just had fun whipping up these lyrics the day before creating the video. I used to dabble and have fun writing terrible amateur poetry / song lyrics like this from when I was a teen and up until my 30’s. If you are new to my website: Iggy Manley is one of the characters I have created on my YouTube channel.
“Bitch, You a Clown”
You think you’re a man, chasing money and fame? You’re so pathetic, you give little girls a bad name.
You wouldn’t know a man, if his junk slapped you in your face. You’re just an insecure boy, wishing a man were in your place.
The only real man here, is the one dropping these phat rhymes. So pay strict attention, like Carl listening to Rick Grimes.
Real men don’t brag. Real men don’t boast. Real men like fruit topping on top of their french toast.
Real men don’t take selfies, to post on social media. Real men use their brains, like when reading the encyclopedia.
Real men don’t respect, every person that they meet. Real men only respect, persons that eat meat.
Real men don’t own & drive, fast, expensive cars. Real men don’t get belligerent or drunk, at sports events, strip clubs and bars.
I could go on and on, but boy, you just ain’t worth my time. So let me finish up, with this one final sick rhyme:
Bitch, you a clown, in a circus sideshow. All you’re good for is a laugh. You ain’t anyone worth getting to know.
I know a sick ass place, that’s far away from here. Where the doctors and the nurses, will make all your worries disappear.
This place cannot be reached, by air, land or sea. It is not on any map. And it’s not for all to see.
It’s a truly amazing place, where all of time stands still. Where anxiety & stress melt away, without ever having to take a pill.
It’s a living, sentient creature, I know that’s hard to believe. Just be warned before you enter, for once you do you’ll never leave.
It’s called Arkham Sanitarium for Mental Rehabilitation. It’s the place that you’ll call home. It’s your final destination.
“Video Games Rule”
Video games rule. They’re awesome and great. And anyone who disagrees can get eaten by a creepy clown living under a sewer grate.
Video games are the best. Of this you can be sure. Because there’s nothing in the world that people would rather do more.
Than to play video games, every second of every day. At home, at school, at work, even take them to their graves.
In a dystopian future, the governments of the world joined together to form a united coalition in an effort to gain ultimate control over their citizens and to steer society towards the coalition’s vision of a utopian society. This new “united front” knew that in order to achieve this, they would have to weaken their people by slowly depriving them of their freedoms and comforts over the years to come.
Their first initiative was to put a global ban on the manufacture, sale and consumption of sugar and any man-made products containing sugar, from sugar cane to high fructose corn syrup. This meant that items such as ice cream, soda pop, chocolate milk, and candy bars were now illegal. This led to candy stores being forced to shut down. Restaurants were no longer permitted to offer sweetened salad dressings, desserts or sweet side dishes such as candied yams. Fast food restaurants were no longer permitted to offer fountain drinks, ketchup or any kind of sweet sauce on their burgers. Supermarkets were no longer allowed to sell any product whatsoever containing sugar of any kind. And worst of all, the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory was permanently shut down, and all of the Oompah Loompas were displaced, imprisoned, became refugees or went back to Loompaland.
Knowing such a global policy would undoubtedly lead to riots in the streets and civil unrest, a new global law enforcement agency was simultaneously created and martial law was put into effect. Hidden behind mirrored face shields, wearing polyethylene body armor, and able to use lethal force at the slightest provocation, this new breed of intimidating officer policed every street corner around the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It made Judge Dredd look like Sheriff Woody.
As the days turned to months, and the months to years, the people became accustomed to living without such simple pleasures that they once enjoyed. As one would imagine, it didn’t take long for sugar to become the most highly sought after item on the black market. Because of this, checkpoints were setup to indiscriminately search anyone at any time for potentially carrying sugar-based products either to consume or distribute. This of course led to abuse of power among many of the officers. Many children and adults were wrongfully imprisoned just by giving the searching officers the wrong look, refusing to cooperate, or responding in a less-than-pleasant manner.
As predicted, riots did take place and many government offices were burned to the ground. What started out as angry protesters, turned to violent mobs and eventually guerrilla tactics were employed by the disgruntled, and even gruntled, citizens. The united governments of the world with their new law enforcement agency responded, and for a few years there was nothing but chaos and violence on every street across the globe. But as the ban on sugar continued to be upheld, as the united coalition remained steadfast and lessened its contact with the citizens of the world, the people were eventually overpowered, weakened, and reluctantly gave up their struggle. They became subdued, complacent sheep. Exactly how the united coalition envisioned.
Knowing how unjust this new world had become, one particular individual took matters into his own hands. He scoured the world for outlawed sweets and even began to manufacture his own. He then arranged secret meetings at undisclosed locations with those citizens who were willing to risk their lives to acquire the confections they desired. This purveyor of sweet hope and joy became known among the people as: The Candy Man.
Soon, other governments and ruling classes across the universe began to take notice of the events that transpired on earth and they too began to follow suit by enforcing their own bans on sugar. Hearing this, The Candy Man then took it upon himself to travel through the rifts and bring his sweets to the deprived multitudes of far distant planets.
A decade went by, and that is when the second ban went into effect: the outlaw of snacks. Potato chips. Cheese curls. Tortilla chips. Crackers. Any snack you can think of was banned. This gave rise to another individual known as The Snack Man, who was a clone of The Candy Man. This time, however, with the citizens having become completely subservient to their masters, there were no riots. Just reluctance and acceptance. With less resistance from their citizens, it took even less time to institute and enforce bans on such things as cheese and beverages.
Over a century passed and the human race was reduced to a slave society. All of their once beloved freedoms, traditions, pleasures and comforts have been stripped away. The sole global government agency now has complete control and domination over the earth’s populace. No one even knows anymore who or what is in charge, since the only contact with any government official of any kind are the officers that enforce the laws and continue to patrol the streets, which are now empty due to everyone being sanctioned to live in organized districts behind 20 foot high walls topped with barbed wired and patrolled by armed guards and robotic sentries.
And just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, the one global governing body took the banning initiative to an all new extreme level, enforcing the ultimate ban.
And that brings us to present day, and the story that will unfold in this video with your visit with The Everything Man.
You find yourself unable to move and completely captivated by the warm, mesmerizing flames of a crackling fire as you hear a voice whispering in an unknown language.
It appears that the rumors are true after all and that your journey here was not in vein. This old manor, once home to generations of the Savallach family, now lies mostly in decay. The only sign of life is a fireplace that is home to a roaring fire that has been burning ever since a century ago when the last of the family line resided here before their mysterious disappearance.
No one knows how or why the fire continues to burn over the course of a hundred years and counting. No matter how one tries to extinguish it, or even when it appears to diminish on its own, the fire rekindles itself in the blink of an eye. This leads many to believe that some sort of arcane magic is involved, especially considering the activities of the nobles that once called this estate their home. Murmurs among the residents in the nearby town of Dunwich say that the eccentric family was known for dabbling in the esoteric arts such as potion brewing, deciphering ancient texts, and engaging in strange rituals that often took place at midnight under the sallow glow of an autumnal moon.
And what of the whispering voice and its message? What dialect is that? What is it trying to say? Is it casting a spell? Is it a warning? Could it be that the fire is sentient and is trying to communicate? Whatever the case may be, one thing is for certain: all worry, stress, anxiety, and insomnia melt away the longer one remains in its presence, and the longer one finds themselves getting lost in the hypnotic dance of the flames, losing all track of time…
Once upon a time, at Arkham Sanitarium, everyone’s favorite resident painter Rob Ross had some trouble sleeping. Rather than make it through the night and schedule an A.S.M.R. appointment the next day with Corvus or Dave, he decided to break curfew and leave his room. I’m sure by now you know how that is never a good idea. While Mr. Ross tried to walk off his bout of insomnia, he noticed he wasn’t the only one roaming the halls that particular evening. He passed quite a few other residents who appeared to have the same idea.
As he meandered around one corner to another along the ever-twisting, ever-changing halls of the facility, suddenly the lights went out. As Rob stood alone in the dark, he heard the shuffling sounds of shoes approaching. As Mr. Ross tried to get his bearings in the pitch black, he heard a growl while at the same time something grabbed him and bit into his left cheek. As the overhead fluorescent lights flickered and hummed back to life, he found himself cheek to cheek with an undead resident who was making a midnight snack out of his face. As he struggled to break free of his undead assailant’s toothy grip on his jawbone, the sanitarium’s alarm system began to wail. A few security guards rushed passed him with one of them stopping long enough to free Rob and drag the undead resident away. Mr. Ross then realized that he was close to the Undead Ward and that there must have been yet another security breach. With his left cheek torn open and bleeding profusely, Rob made his way back to the Human Ward and straight to Professor Clemmons’ office.
Unfortunately, as it goes whenever one becomes bitten by an infected, there was nothing the Professor could do while Rob was still living. However, once Mr. Ross became a member of the dearly departed as well as the undead, Professor Clemmons was able to perform a successful yet experimental treatment that saved part of Rob Ross’ consciousness and motor functions before the infection could completely take hold. Rob Ross then spent time being buried in Margaret’s Garden in order to recuperate and heal.
As you can see in this video, Rob Zombie Ross (as everyone now jokingly refers to him) is almost back to his old self, minus a speech impediment, and continues his painting show on the sanitarium’s own broadcasting network ASMR TV.
Official text behind the letter written in the video:
Hello My Friend!
I hope this letter finds you fairing well! No, strike that. I hope you are doing splentastically well! I do apologize for writing you so late, but it is only until now that I have been ale to set aside all distractions and dedicate my time to writing you a proper letter.
So, where should I begin? Well, as you now know, based on the return address on the envelope accompanying this letter, I am now a proud resident of Arkham, Massachussets! Hurrah! The move was a great success and much less trouble than I thought it would be, of course I own but a modest amount of possessions. However, it sure did a number on my anxiety! And I will write more about that further down.
I have been here now for a couple of months and I am finallyjust starting to feel settled in. I am in a nice little apartment on the second floor with a living room that faces the street. I get plenty of sunlight during the day, which is what my psyche needs. However, the building appears to have been built in the 19th century! Its bones rattle and creak with even the slightest amount breeze! Sometimes I think I even hear mice in the walls! Ha! The neighbors have all been nice so far, just like many of the locals that I have crossed paths with.
This place is not at all like our hometown, I can tell you that! It is reminiscent of an old mining town. Many of the people here are poor, and that truly breaks my heart. There are some homes that are well maintained and appear to be owned by affluent folk who most likely own the local businesses. But many of the houses with their gambrel rooftops are unkempt and even abandoned. There are not a lot of jobs available or companies to work for, though I see that they are trying to rebuild some sections of town, so there is hope. Fortunately I was able to land a job at one of the local law firms. It is clerical work, but it pays well enough so that I can pay my rent, bills, and keep food in the fridge while I attend Miskatonic University, which you know is the main reason for my moving here.
I’m still getting my bearings in regards to becoming more acclimated with my surroundings. Trying to remember street names, the different shops and parks in the area, and what not. Everything is in walking distance, although it is quite a hilly region, so one does get quite the work out! My legs are actually aching as I write this! There are a lot of churches here too, moreso than back home. Though I no longer practice and even once abhorred the catholic church during my youth, it is not so much a point of contention the older I get. At least it is quiet on Sunday mornings, and I must confess, no pun intended, that I do rather like the church bells. There is a cemetary right down the road, so in the event that anything were to happen to me, they would not have to travel very far to dispose of my corpse! Ha! The next time that I write you I shall go into more detail about some of the people that I have met, a few of the interesting places that I have been, and the events that have taken place around town.
I will tell you now, however, that there is something not quite right about this place. I cannot for the life of me put my finger on it. There is a strange sense of foreboding in the air at times. Like a storm that is approaching but you cannot quite tell in which direction it is coming because the buildings and trees block your view of the horizon, and eventually the storm passes anyway. I do not like going for walks at night very often, and I do not think I am the only one, because there are not too many people about on the streets past 10PM. There does not seem to be a lot of crime, or moreso than anywhere else I suppose. I do hear the occasional siren of the passing police car, ambulance, and fire truck, but not enough to cause concern. Maybe it is just the downtrodden parts of town that make it seem so unsettling. I am sure it is nothing! I highly doubt this town has some kind of horrid past like Amityville or Salem! It is Arkham, after all! Home to the acclaimed Miskatonic University! But I simply cannot shake the feeling that there is something going on around me that I am just not privy to. Perhaps a secret that the locals will not disclose to outsiders and those that they do not know or trust. Hell, I am sure it is just my acute paranoia that is playing tricks on me!
Lastly, being the sensitive individuals that you and I are, these new surroundings have been doing a number on my anxiety! There is so much to take in and it has all been very overwhelming to my senses. And of course I am still struggling with my depression to boot! I still have those days where I do not even want to get out of bed. But I feel that the move to this town in pursuit of my degree is just what the doctor ordered! And speaking of doctors, apparently there is a state of the art facility at the outskirts of town called Arkham Sanitarium. Depsite the name, it is a place where everyday folks can go to have their minor mental health issues treated. At least, that is what is explained on the ad I saw walking past the bus stop the other day. If my anxiety and depression do not get any better, I think I may just have to check it out. I may just do so anyway one weekend, just for curiosity’s sake! I am rather fond of historic places and grand architecure!
Well, I think that is all for now my friend. I will try to write again sooner and again, I do apologize for taking so long to write you! You know, you should consider joining me up here! I know you are looking for a change of scenery yourself and a new beginning. You should give it a thought, it might be good for you! You could always make a trip up and stay on the weekend I would be more than happy to have you stay a coupld of nights with me! There is a spare bedroom here.
I looking forward to hearing back from you soon!
Once upon a time, back in October 2018, I was sitting down for lunch eating my usual beef pot pie, or maybe it was chicken pot pie, I can’t remember exactly. I think I had water to drink along with it, although it may have been iced tea. I don’t know if I also had a snack or a treat. I like to follow a meal with dessert of some kind, whether it’s fruit, a candy bar or a slice of chocolate cake. Anyway, somewhere in between my 7th and 8th bite of that scrumptious golden pastry filled with meat, veggies and gravy, all of a sudden I heard a loud ruckus occur out behind our house. At first I thought maybe it was Santa Claus, because the “all of a sudden loud ruckus” I usually hear is the old jolly elf landing on our roof with his reindeer. But I remembered that it’s not quite Christmas yet, even thought all the major retailers are starting to put out all the Christmas decorations for sale when we haven’t even gotten past Halloween yet.
Before we get into everything, let me start by saying that obviously, this is not required reading to watch my videos. I am doing this for 2 reasons: 1) for those who are interested in “playing along” and possibly learning more about the so-called universe I’ve created and who may be new to my channel, and 2) to set some things straight (as possible) and make some things official.