Sep 7, 2012
G. Athan

How The Fail Fest Became a Failure

I decided to start writing this blog as a way to seek out some form of catharsis for my life. The idea was that I’d write a slightly humorous blog (the jury’s still out on that one) based on the various shortcomings I deal with regularly. I thought that by exaggerating my some stories and focusing on the “funny” aspects of not doing well in life would help me in seeing the lighter-side of life and, hopefully, allow others to read something that, perhaps, would bring a smile to their face. The idea worked for a bit. I was able to write up some silly, stupid, ridiculous shit and play to the idea that I was “overly-desperate” for page hits and views by attempting to manipulate the SEO and topics I was writing about. I assume that most people never really got the joke and failed to see the humor in my posts because, after all, it’s difficult at times to showcase a “dry” sense of humor via a text based medium. But I digress.
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Jan 14, 2012
G. Athan

People and Me: A Socially Awkward Tale

Alright, let’s face it, I don’t understand people. Surprised? If you know me, probably not. Hell, even if you don’t know me and you’ve read any of this nonsensical blog then I’m sure you’ve come to the realization that I’m just a touch off kilter. No, I genuinely do not understand human beings in any way, shape, or form. Trust me, I’ve tried. A lot. I even spend a good 5 years of college immersed in psychology courses in order to get a better grasp on the fickle fiend known as the homo sapien. No luck.

So, where did my inability to comprehend my fellow man begin? A long, long time ago. My parents are both of Greek descent (they were both born in Greece, my mom lived there briefly, while my father spent the better part of his life as a young man over in that foreign land) and as such, certain cultural expectations were placed upon me. You see, I was Greek. No, no, not an American of Greek descent, but a full-bloodied Greek (forget the fact that I was born in OHIO). That minor detail in my life carried a lot of weight. For you see, that trait, made me better than EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD! That’s right. Mind blown? Damn straight.

Looking back, that mere idea is absolutely laughable these days. Greeks be better than EVERYONE? Maybe at destroying their economy, but certainly not in any other way. Aside from their monetary faux-pas, the Greeks haven’t really been relevant or newsworthy for a good 2,000 years. Yikes. Talk about a rut. But, I digress. Due to my mystical heritage, I was better than people, and as a little kid, I truly believed that. I mean, truly, honestly, blindly believed that. I spoke two languages, came from a close-knit family (of backstabbers and my parents were going to be divorced shortly anyway, but that’s another story for another time; most likely never), and had all the stories and myths from my homeland drilled into my brain. I even attended Greek School for 5 years with other “special” (and boy do I stress the word special) Greek kids. I was one of the chosen people. Sadly, being “chosen” doesn’t necessarily work out to be a good thing (ask the Jews).

I took my self-righteous attitude and threw it in everyone’s face. I didn’t want to socialize with “American” children growing up. After all, they were beneath me. And I carried myself in that way, for many, many, many years. I also used to be rather smart (shocker, right?) and as such I would flaunt my intellect over the other children at every opportunity I would get. I breezed through elementary and middle school with A’s without so much as opening a book. To quote Jeff Skilling (now serving time for the Enron debacle, yay!), I was “fucking smart.” But sadly, those book smarts never really translated to “relationship smarts.” I never did anything with any other kids and I never really understood why I didn’t fit in with anyone. I was these kids’ superior, why didn’t they love me? Was it cause I was a pompous ass? Oh, yeah, right, there was that.

i did have one friend growing up though. He and I used to hang out all the time, every day after school. We’d play video games and shoot the shit. It was the best 5 years of my life as a kid. Then he moved away. All of a sudden I was thrown back into a whirlwind of trying to make meaningful relationships with people. Needless to say, I was lost. During this time I was rather out of shape and as such, most “heavier” children tended to gravitate towards comedy in order to help build friendships. Well, my “Greek’s Rule!” egotistical nature had begun to diminish, so I turned to attempted humor. As you can see from reading this story (or any others), I’m not very good at being funny. Yeah, that tactic crashed and burned. Hard.

I spent the vast majority of my middle school days virtually friendless. Even the people whom I’d hang out with didn’t really seem to want me around. Maybe I’m wrong, but what can I say, I’m paranoid these days and truly believe that I’m hated by everyone. I’m most likely right, but hey, I don’t mind a little bit of reasonable doubt. It wasn’t until High School that I was able to find a group of people that I could call my own. Again, my presence never really seemed to be desired (as evidenced by the others hanging out in a closely-knit fashion after school while I sat at home alone, meh), but, again, probably just paranoid. After I settled in my new-found clique, I started to come into my own. My personality developed into what it is today, I became more outgoing, more open-minded, and far easier-going than I had ever been in my life. I was happy. Then, a certain event took place that changed my life forever and ended up changing my personality permanently.

Following this event I became a far more bitter person. And for years that was all that I could muster to be. Eventually, I was able to cope with all the pain and hurt from the tragedy by becoming a faux-cynical-asshole, i.e. me. I let the negativity completely take over my personality and turned it into a “defeatist” individual persona, but attempted to keep it grounded via humor. Sure, I’m pessimistic, but for the most part it’s played for laughs. I generally don’t mean the ridiculous things I say, do, or the manner in which I phrase things, yet I’ll play it up for a laugh even if what I’m saying IS indeed rooted in some type of truth and anger buried deep down inside me. Yes, I’m a prick. I admit it. But, I like to think that buried deep down beneath I’m a fairly decent person. Those who know me best can attest to the truth of that. I don’t like to make judgments about myself or present myself in any other way other than the way I am. Moving on.

So, back to people. I don’t get them. I don’t understand what draws people to other people. Why people choose the people they choose to “hang out” with. I was always taught to be a good, nice person and to treat others with respect at all times. I did that as a kid (even though I was a touch conceited, and I assume that was my downfall) and it never seemed to pan out. I was ostracized and outcast for it. There were all the jocks who would hang out together, and, of course, the hot chicks would flock together; the nerds would hang out together, and then there was me. I mean, I know that society labels us, but I always found it strange how these “types” of people seem to exist everywhere (at least in Westernized cultures) and how everyone falls into an archetype of sorts. It isn’t until later in laugh when people tend to grow out of these, but I never fully understood “WHY” or “HOW” these groups (more importantly the personalities attributed to each group) come to be. Why are jocks douchebags? How do hot chicks decide “Oh we’re hot, you’re not,” and then draw other hot chicks to this group? I mean, yes, I get it, similar interests, sure, but as I said earlier, it’s really the personality similarities and traits that each group shares that amazes me.

Beyond that, I’ve never fully grasped why people get together with the people they get together with. For example, abusive relationships. Sure, at one point in time, there was something that drew the one person to the other (also, why is the “bad boy” attitude the thing that girls dig? You KNOW that guy is just gonna end up being a jackass…), but then, if things turn abusive, why stay? I’ve never understood that. Is it cause people hold on to the past? Think they can change the other person? I don’t get it. Why don’t we ever try to do what’s best for ourselves, realize there’s a problem, and nip it in the bud without all the emotional heartache and trauma? Why does it seem that we like to be around people who make us feel like shit and completely ignore/write off those who treat us well and respect us? Is there something ingrained deep within the human condition that makes us all gluttons for punishment? I don’t know. I mean, I’m not entirely innocent of the any of the above myself, and it’s something about myself that I’m trying to comprehend. You’d think those 5 years of psychology courses woulda been useful. Not so much.

So in closing, people suck. That’s the conclusion I’ve reached. People will always be selfish and careless of others feelings so long as their personal needs are being met. I know I am.

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Dec 9, 2011
G. Athan

Marty Scorsese vs. Chris Nolan: A Fail Fest Showdown

Martin Scorsese vs. Christopher Nolan

Great day in the morning, I’m writing a new post! It’s amazing to think that it’s only been a mere day…erm…week…uh…hrmm…months since I last wrote in this gem of a site, but, hey, better late than never. Not that I haven’t had endless topics and ideas to write about (which I don’t, but let’s just pretend that I do), but I’ve just been busy. Yes, busy. All right, moving right along.

So why my sudden resurgence to this page that only MAYBE 2 people read? Because yesterday I hear quite possibly the stupidest thing in my life and I felt the need to rant and rave on a forum which I control. That’s right, on here my opinion reigns supreme. You two measly readers can post your pointless thoughts and comments in the comments section where they’ll be lost, forgotten, or deleted, never to see the light of day. So, what was this statement that was made that drove me back to this blog? Ahem…a fella I know, let’s call him James for the sake of this blog, made the preposterous claim that Christopher Nolan is a far better director than Martin Scorsese. Have your eyes stopped burning and your brain regained functionality? Good, onwards.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Chris Nolan, the fella has made several solid films; Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight, and Inception just to name a few, but, come on people. Marty has directed countless classics such as Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, After Hours, The Color of Money, The Last Temptation of Christ, GoodFellas, Casino, The Departed, and, my personal favorite, Gangs of New York, again, to name a few. Okay, okay, I just named a ton of films and have yet to give any reasons as to why I feel this way (as if any are needed), but, here we go.

1) Scorsese is a Proven Master of Cinema

Marty understands film. Period. The man has a love, adoration, respect, and passion for the medium that is unparalleled by any of these jokers who claim to be filmmakers. Steve Spielberg? Pssh. Get outta here with your overbearingly sad and depressing Jew killing flick. Marty would have directed circles around you had he helmed the product (I love Spielberg by the way, and Schindler’s List is fantastic…THAT’S how great Scorsese is). Scorsese chooses all of his shots, cuts, sound effects, music, and performances so carefully and deliberately. Everything means something.

All of his flicks are riddled with layer after layer of deeper meaning, symbolism, and thematic elements that really drive the point of his story home. Let’s take The Departed for example. A common theme throughout the film is the fact that all the “villainous” characters are impotent and unable to “get it up” so to speak. A very interesting motif that plays out throughout the film. What’s Marty saying about these characters? You tell me. That’s just one example.

Nolan, again, is fantastic. The man has made some of my favorite flicks and he has quite the range to back up his skills. The problem with Nolan is, well, he’s not Marty. His stories are very well written, plotted, and scripted, but he still leaves some elements out in the open. Take The Dark Knight for example. Melvin White. Remember that sequence? That’s the sequence where Batman does some detective work. He finds the bullets, he matches some stuff, he finds Melvin White’s finger prints on the bullet (what that matters, who knows), and then he decides to pursue The Joker in order to stop the assassination of Richard from Lost (or Batmanuel for all you Tick Live Action fans). Sounds good right? Wrong!

It’d be one thing if Batman went to stop The Joker, but he doesn’t. Instead, Bruce Wayne in full motorcyclist garb decides to be a hero and take down the villainous Melvin White (who may or may not be The Joker, who knows, solid work John and Chris). Yes, wealthy billionaire Bruce Wayne who, by the way, is trying to keep his identity a secret. Luckily for Bruce the hostages are all tied up and blindfolded and no one’s any wiser in regards to his true identity when he saves those folks. Well done Master Wayne. And well done to you too Chris.

That’s just ONE example, but Batman Begins suffers from a few flaws as well (I chalk those up to that waste of a screenwriter David S.Goyer, but hey, whatever), as does Memento and so on and so forth. Again, don’t get me wrong, Chris Nolan is AMAZING (I can’t stress that enough) and I love his flicks, but is he anywhere near the caliber of director as Martin Scorsese? No. Will he ever be on that level? Well…probably not, but how many Marty Scorsese’s are there out there? Just 1. And there’s no shame in being in that man’s shadow.

PS – I know that I started a list of reasons as to why Marty was better than Chris…all I needed was one. I said what was needed to be said.

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Jul 18, 2011
G. Athan

Walter White is a Straight-Up G *SPOILERS – Do Not Read If Not Caught Up On Breaking Bad*


The following blog post contains SPOILERS. If you have not seen all 3 seasons of Breaking Bad and Sunday’s episode, Box Cutter, you should probably kill yourself. That, or you could just watch them. If you don’t mind being spoiled (which you should), then read on.

Breaking Bad is one of the best shows in recent memory. AMC has really done an impressive job with their lineup: Mad Men, The Walking Dead, and Breaking Bad just to name a few. The show is incredibly well shot, well written, and well guided. Bryan Cranston is one of the most remarkable actors working today and, although he has 3 consecutive Emmy wins, he still remains extremely underrated. Who would have thought that Tim Whatley was capable of such incredible acting chops? Anyway, whether you love or hate Walter White, one thing is for sure, the man is a straight-up G.
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Jul 18, 2011
G. Athan

Success of the Day – The Dark Knight Rises Teaser Trailer


Every time that I watch this trailer, I get goosebumps. Tom Hardy as Bane is an amazing thing to behold. This film can’t be released soon enough. A little “Knightfall” anyone?

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Jul 17, 2011
G. Athan

Fail of the Day – Carmageddon


So it turns out that the dreaded Carmageddon was nothing but a bunch of hot air.  The freeways weren’t busy, there were no 70 mile traffic backups, and the world went on.  Carmageddon can now officially join the ranks of Y2K, Sars, Swine Flu, Anthrax, and the 2011 Apocalypse. Guess those 405 Tips and Tricks didn’t come in very useful did they?

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Jul 16, 2011
G. Athan

Surviving Carmageddon: 405 Fail Fest Tips and Tricks for Angelenos


It is finally here, the day of reckoning, Carmageddon!! Now, this is a very area specific problem and the vast majority of the United States and other countries will have no idea what Carmageddon is, aside from being a very lame Twisted Metal rip off. In Los Angeles, there are a number of six lane freeways that allow the 4 million people who live in the city and the 7 million who commute daily to get from place to place. There’s the 101, the 134, the 110, the 405, and a number of other famous freeways that serve as the lifeline for all of these people. Unfortunately, this weekend, a 10 mile stretch of the 405 has been shut down, and thus, Carmageddon was born.
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Jul 15, 2011
G. Athan

This Working Out Thing Isn’t Really Working Out


I just returned home from a miserable run at the gym. Exhausted, beaten, and defeated I sat playing on Twitter (follow @TheFailFest) and was inspired to write this article detailing my “not-so-triumphant” return to the gym. I was previously sidelined with an injury for nearly a year and I decided last week that I would begin the quest to get in shape. Unfortunately, it’s not going so well.
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Jul 14, 2011
G. Athan

The One Where I Sought to Become Famous


I have an extremely low self esteem. Well, not these days, these days I merely don’t care what anyone things or says about me. But when I was younger I had a tremendously low self esteem. I was extremely shy, quiet, yet extremely nice. Those who know me may find that to be absurd. Growing up, I was never the “popular” guy. I never had many friends in elementary school or middle school, but I was always able to get along with a fair majority of people. Still, no one “strived” to hang out with me or befriend me. I just sort of existed. My freshman year of high school I decided that I would re-invent myself. I would join the football team. I would become…a field goal kicker.
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Jul 13, 2011
G. Athan

Fail of the Day – Netflix: An Examination of the Rise and (Soon-to-be) Fail of the Company that (Nearly) Killed Blockbuster


Netflix sure has created a great deal of hoopla on the internet today. Yes, because today Netflix did the unimaginable, the unbelievable, the inconceivable; yes, Netflix has decided to jack up their prices. Yes dear readers it is true, the king of all streaming and mailed-to-your-door movies is feeling the corporate itch and it’s decided to scratch it with a few more greenbacks. Eight to be exact. Eight more dollars. Oh the humanity! How did we come to this? Let’s have a look shall we, at the birth of an evil, fire-spitting, consumer gouging, Grendel-like beast.
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