Friday, September 9, 2016

Paradox Review

This week's show review is the 2009 British series Paradox, now available on Hulu. When I first tried this series not long ago, I didn't realize how short lived the show was. It had decent reviews, 7.2 stars on IMDB, described as:

"During a period of high activity on the sun a physicist receives images in his lab that show an event that has yet to happen."

I watched the first episode and was only mildly entertained. It had action, good acting, paranormal events taking place, even cruel corporate oversight administrators who were willing to sacrifice people's lives to test their theories on whether you could change fate. However, rather than intrigue me, those administrators simply pissed me off.  There were also a few other things about this series that failed to gain my interest: the character backgrounds and development were nearly nonexistent, as a result I didn't really care whether they survived or not, and the reason behind the psychic images transferred through the satellite was always a black box without any real theories beyond solar activity as to its cause. Some of these things might have been further developed after episode 3, but I was not interested in finding out by that point.

Evidently I wasn't the only one. When it was released, many of the critics were not impressed either and the season ended after episode 5. For this one, I wouldn't even watch the first episode. Just move on to something better.

Paradox: 2 Stars

Weston Kincade ~ Author of the A Life of Death collection, The Priors, and Strange Circumstances

Friday, September 2, 2016

Oddities Review

This week's review is on another pawn store show that found its niche, Oddities, in fact the only one I'm aware of that has sustained itself season after season. I mentioned it last week in my review of Pawn Stars. IMDB describes it as:

"New York City's Obscura Antiques & Oddities ain't your grandmother's antique shop unless your grandmother is an eccentric. Oddities follows this unique store as it deals in the strange and the bizarre, item-wise and client-wise."

In my opinion, one major reason this series successfully won out where shows like Hardcore Pawn Chicago failed was the show's unique subject matter. I am normally not one attracted to oddity shows like this, but my wife stumbled onto it and introduced me to Oddities when they were first airing season 1. After watching the first couple episodes, I couldn't look away, much like drivers rubbernecking past a traffic wreck.

So what do I mean? Well, Obscura Antiques & Oddities in New York City deals in the bizarre. I'm talking stuffed two-headed calves, Houdini's handcuffs, miniatures made out of belly lint, and so much more. If you wonder what people will bring in on Pawn Stars, it is extreme in Oddities. Additionally, celebrities with a twisted sense of entertainment like Cassandra Peterson (Elvira) often come in with requests for the Oddities staff to find.

If you are a fan of the bizarre and unorthodox, Oddities is one show for you. Currently in season 6, there are plenty of episodes to enjoy on Amazon or the Science Channel.

Oddities: 4 Stars

Weston Kincade ~ Author of the A Life of Death collection, The Priors, and Strange Circumstances

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Celebrating her Life, Katy Sozaeva

Katy Sozaeva
They say the only constants in life are change and death. These two are often coupled together. When we lose someone who contributed so much to our lives, there is always a hole left that they used to occupy. Earlier this week, I learned that Katy Sozaeva passed after a long fight with cancer. I worked with her for years on fine-tuning my own books and we cooperated on many edits for other authors. She was a Vine Voice Amazon Book Reviewer, a powerful editor, and a loving woman. Dmitry, I'm so sorry for your loss and what you both went through the last few years. I was heartbroken when she was originally diagnosed, but she fought the good fight. Now she can rest with a good book like she so often liked to do, lounging on a soft cloud somewhere up high, just like the kitties she adored so much like to do.
I've just been in touch with Kriss over at book reviewer, blogger, and great friend of Katy's. Kriss has a wonderful idea for a celebration of Katy's life. She is compiling all the great things people would like to say about Katy, everything from how she influenced authors and helped their writing to flourish to childhood memories, newly written poems in honor of Katy, and even podcasts. This is a time for remembrance, celebrating her life, and also showing how she helped us to shine in our own unique ways. In Kriss' words, "I'm celebrating her life. It can be anything, a letter to her, a memory, a goodbye, anything."
Also, if you are an author, feel free to add your bio in addition along with links to things Katy may have helped create. Include pictures, videos, audio recordings, anything that can help celebrate Katy's life and her contribution to the world at large. I know that personally she ingrained herself in almost every page I've had published thus far.
Each contribution will be posted on and cross-posted on other book blogger's sites celebrating the life and mourning the loss of one of their own, our late, great Katy Sozaeva. If you knew Katy and would like to contribute, email Kriss at cabin (dot) goddess (at) gmail (dot) com. All are welcome.

Weston Kincade ~ Author of the A Life of Death collection, The Priors, and Strange Circumstances

Friday, August 26, 2016

Pawn Stars Review

Another show I've grown to love over the years, as have many other people, is Pawn Stars on the History Channel. I must say, when I first heard about the show before ever watching it, I was skeptical. Come on, a show about a pawn store, really?


Others have tried to copy the success of Rick, Corey, and Richard Harrison's family owned pawn shop in Las Vegas turned television show. Unfortunately, I can only think of one that managed to find its own niche, Oddities. However, that's a very different type of pawn shop show and a review for another time.

One of the things I love about Pawn Stars is the surprising history you discover in each episode, everything from ancient mummified hands to ancient coins, celebrity autographs, historic weapons, armor, classic vehicles, and arcade games. But just seeing them negotiate over these items is only the first attraction. There is always a big question of whether the item is a forgery, and the history and information brought in by the experts in various areas really takes the show to another level.

If you've never seen Pawn Stars, I highly recommend it. If it's just been a while, you might want to look it up on television, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or Netflix to get your Pawn Stars fix.

Pawn Stars: 5 Stars

Weston Kincade ~ Author of the A Life of Death collection, The Priors, and Strange Circumstances

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Confessions of an Outdoorsman!

I have a confession to make about something my sister made quite clear last weekend. I blog about things I'm interested in: books, movies, shows, etc., but I'm evidently not very open with people about my interests. I hadn't even thought about it really because I grew up when computers weren't all over the place. There wasn't one in every household, let alone in every hand. Honestly, I didn't even join Facebook or Twitter till I started writing books and everyone said, "You have to have a website and social media for your books." So I did, and now I can't get away from the damned things. I have Facebook and internet access on my phone so even while I'm out fishing, you might see me reading an e-book, checking messages, Facebook, or even catching Pokemon. Talk about an addictive personality.

And because I can, here is a caterpillar
sushi roll I once had.
But evidently I never grasped the whole concept of putting yourself out there. I don't normally post pictures of meals to Facebook unless it is something spectacular, and everyday things that many people want to see, I don't even consider posting. It's not the way my mind works, but here is my first attempt at doing just that. (And no, this isn't a post about what I ate for breakfast. However, if you really want to know, I had a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios.)

Need I say more?
For those of you who don't know, my wife Marsha and I are avid campers, fishers, and road-trippers. We love going out to the lake, cooking over a campfire and chatting with friends, lounging in a hammock, and throwing a line in (not necessarily simultaneously, but I've wondered how well hanging in a hammock would work while fishing). You never know what you'll see out and about, and the sights can be amazing, especially if you are into road trips. Hell, one winter we even made it to...(wait for it)... Hell--Hell, Michigan that is. I never knew there was snow in Hell, but evidently you can even be the mayor of Hell for a day. It's all official with a certificate and everything.

Marsha and I camping at Assateague Island
(I'm behind the camera)
Often it's good to just go out for an evening and fish if you can't take an entire weekend to camp, so Marsha and I go to the local pier or river, whatever's available, and throw out a line. But we've camped on the beach, in state parks, and just about anywhere you can put down a tent... except for one.

I grew up in El Paso, Texas where there were as many cacti on the ground as there were grains of sand, so camping in a tent was certainly not something you did out west in the desert. But on the east coast where vibrant, green plant life persists everywhere and water can be found just lying on the ground like a lazy hound, puddling into lakes, ponds, and oceans, it seems like camping in a razor-thin piece of tarp with nothing for protection is more than okay. It's fun. (For those of you who don't know, El Paso has almost every poisonous lizard there is in the world, and I hated stepping on scorpions while crossing the kitchen late at night as a kid. Hurt like a hell! And no, don't say it. I know what you're thinking.)

Melissa, Jonah, and Siah on Pymatuning Lake
Here in Cleveland, we go to Edgewater Pier on Lake Eerie to see what's biting. Sometimes friends will join us and we have a great time boating or just pulling in as large of catfish as we can--although more often than not, we lose more bait and tackle than we catch in fish.

Jonah with nada on the line... yet!
 But sometimes we're lucky!
This was a pretty good
size sheepshead.

And so, there you have it. Outside of books, movies, and teaching, I like the outdoors. Ohio has great spots for fishing, unlike the desert I grew up in. And yes, my favorite colors are blue and green. Who would've thought? Something was just missing in my childhood.

So, what are your outdoor interests?

Weston Kincade ~ Author of the A Life of Death collection, The Priors, and Strange Circumstances