Athena Scalzi

What’s With All The Reviews?

Athena ScalziGood question. I’m glad you asked. Just kidding, I know you didn’t ask, but my paranoid brain has made me believe that some of you are questioning why a lot of my posts are reviews or recommendations. In fact, I got so paranoid about it that I was supposed to post a review last week but didn’t because I thought, what if everyone is tired of seeing reviews, or wondering why practically everything I do is a review?

I wonder this myself, sometimes. Why do I feel like posting reviews all the time? Why do I try to turn everything I test out into a readable experience? Why do I think that anyone cares what I have to say about some random chip brand, or some small soap company?

I think I’ve figured it out, though. Like many Americans, I am a consumer. And as such, I like to know that what I’m planning to consume is worth a try! Usually, I want to know as much as I can about something before testing it out. I like to read reviews, and I appreciate people that take time to rate and review things honestly, so other people that are considering buying that product have a pretty good idea of what they’re gonna get.

There’s a lot of products that have hundreds of reviews, but there’s also tons of products that have practically no reviews whatsoever, or if they do, they’re short and vague. I feel like a lot of the products I buy are a total shot in the dark, because I buy a lot of stuff that I’ve never seen reviews for, or it just doesn’t have a lot of real, constructive reviews.

So, I want to be that person that provides reviews for weird things, things that no one else really takes the time to review! If you’re looking to buy a product, but aren’t really sure, I want to be that person that can assure you said thing is worth the money (or not)! I want to be helpful. More so, I want to be helpful in a way that I appreciate in other people. So, like I said, I appreciate when people leave reviews, therefore I try to do the same thing. I just want people to be informed! Even if it is just over snacks or stickers or something!

As long as there are creators in the world, there has to be someone to consume their products. And I love being that person! I enjoy being the person that buys a Twitter artist’s paintings, or an Etsy creator’s pins, or a small company’s lip balm. I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where I can support other people, support creators. And that makes me happy.

Life is all about sharing experiences, and I really enjoy doing that with all of you! It just so happens that a lot of my experiences are in trying things out, so that’s what I share. (I also like to share travel experiences, but there’s not much of that going on these days.) I like to do media reviews, like video games and whatnot, but product reviews are just more common for me simply because it’s a lot easier to do a review over something like chocolate rather than a game that would take me 60 hours to finish.

So, with all that being said, I hope this little bit of insight has cleared up why I do reviews so often. And I do genuinely hope you enjoy my reviews, of course, but if reviews aren’t your thing that’s totally okay, too! I just know I generally like reading them, so I tend to write them.

Anyways, I am going to try to combat my paranoia and actually post that review I was planning to last week, because at the end of the day, this website is free, and I can post whatever I want (haha see what I did there?).

Have a great day!



Love Death + Robots Volume 2 Trailer is (Officially) Up

I saw that it had leaked over the weekend but now it’s up on the Netflix YouTube account, so: Here you go. I think it looks pretty cool, myself.



— JS

Big Idea

The Big Idea: James Fell

Sometimes, things don’t turn out the way you want them to. But as James Fell tells us, that’s not always a bad thing. Follow along as he explains how failure can be for the best in his Big Idea for his newest book, On This Day in History Sh!t Went Down.


I thought my last book was going to go big. Judging by the advance my publisher provided, so did they. We were both wrong.

There were a couple of national TV spots, a lot of radio, flattering write-ups in major print outlets, and about fifty podcast appearances. I also have a sizeable social media presence, and I hustled that fucker, but it didn’t hit. If people could predict what goes and what doesn’t, no one would have sunk $175 million into Keanu’s 47 Ronin.

You ever feel devastated about a failure, but it turns out to be the best thing ever?

For several years I was a popular science-based health and fitness writer; none of that fad diet bullshit. My previous book was an expansion into the area of motivation: a scientific examination of the life-changing epiphany titled The Holy Sh!t Moment. I was proud of the book, but sales were less than stellar. And in an industry where “You’re only as good as your last book” is a maxim, it was going to be a struggle to sell another science-based self-help book in a genre that prefers fluff and pseudoscience.

My agent told me to send him a list of ten potential ideas, and I did. On April 17 of last year I was on a bike ride and realized I didn’t want to write any of those ideas. The thought of authoring another self-help book was a portmanteau of blech and barf. It was blarf.

I’d wanted to be a history professor.

I went so far as finishing a master’s degree, but realized that relocating for a PhD, then potentially hopping around from school to school in pursuit of a tenure track wasn’t a kind thing to put my new wife through, being that she was a family medicine resident planning to set up a practice. So after the master’s I got an MBA to make some money and we stayed put. Ten years later I quit the business world and became a moderately successful freelance writer.

And here I was, 51-years old, wondering what the fuck I was going to do with my life.

I wasn’t in a good space, psychologically. It was looking like Trump would get re-elected. The Covid lockdowns had begun and my physician wife told me, “This is going to be bad and it’s going to last a long time.” The writing career I’d sunk over a decade into was on life support, as was my burgeoning speaking career due to the plague spreading o’er the land.

So I rode my bike.

And on that April day when I said enough with the self-help bullshit, an idea popped into my head that I could write an “on this day in history” piece and post it to my Facebook page. Plenty such works exist, but I figured I could write it in a unique and profanity-filled way that my readers might enjoy. Knowing a thing or two about holy shit moments, I realized I’d just had one. I rode home, searched for a notable event that took place on April 18, and the next day posted my story about Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms telling the pope to inhale a big bag of dog farts. Paraphrased.

It was moderately popular. I wrote another for the following day about Mae West being sentenced to ten days in jail for “corrupting the morals of youth” with her debut Broadway play titled Sex. That one blew up. It also resulted in comments of “You should make these into a book.”

That settled that. After only two days of posts, I committed to a full year’s worth. It took a week to decide on a title for the daily column, eventually coming up with “On This Day in History, Shit Went Down.” After the first month the views totalled over a million, and I decided to do two years’ worth. By autumn, the column had almost five million views a month and some said, “You should be getting paid for this.”

And so, I launched a Patreon, appealing to people’s altruism to “keep it free for everyone” but also to “get access to subscriber-only content.” In under two months I was in the top 50 of all writers on the platform. Then a competitor of Patreon, called Substack, got in touch and said, “We think you’d be happier writing for us,” and I said I think you’re right and switched over. Suddenly, I was having my best financial year as a writer, and I hadn’t even sold a book. Another indication I was finally in the right genre is that it took nine years to get my Facebook page to 80,000 followers. Ten months after I started writing about history, it had climbed to over 140,000.

In 2020 I did more writing than the previous three years combined. It helped distract from the fucktacular shitnado of ass that year was.

I got it in my head that I wanted On This Day in History Sh!t Went Down published on the one-year anniversary of the epiphany that led to its creation, so I hurt myself and made it happen. Even if it doesn’t sell, the subscriptions are doing well. But the pre-orders have been encouraging, and I keep posting daily history stories as a vehicle to promote it. With thousands of years of historical fuckery to pull from, I doubt I’ll run out of ideas.

Speaking of fuckery, The Holy Sh!t Moment contained only two f-bombs. Sh!t Went Down is a meaty tome at almost 160,000 words, and 1,011 of those words include “fuck” in some fashion: dumbfuckery, fucktacular, fucknuckle, fuckpuddle, fuckwipe, fuckwit, fucknut, fuckstick, motherfucker etc. Oh, and most uses of “Nazis” have the word “fucking” preceding them. Because fuck fucking Nazis. And by “fuck Nazis” I mean no one should ever fuck Nazis. Such assholes.

Please buy my fucking book.

On This Day in History Sh!t Went Down: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Apple Books | Kobo

Read an excerpt. Subscribe to the author’s Substack. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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